Training for staff (EPS)

Training for staff (EPS)

To obtain the full benefit from Electronic Prescription Service Release 2 (R2) and minimise disruptions, pharmacy staff need to be appropriately trained in how to use the system. Where training has been inadequate, or not taken up, there have been cases where problems have emerged as a consequence.

Whilst system suppliers are responsible for delivering training in the use of systems, pharmacy contractors are responsible for working with suppliers to ensure that training is sufficient and meets the needs of individual staff. The following list of tips to consider when organising training has been compiled from feedback on experiences to date:

Plan training in advance

  • Planning is a must – set out a plan with a rough staff availability/training timetable outlining.
  • All staff included: Make provision for part-time staff and locums. E.g. designating a member of the pharmacy team to train part-time workers.
  • There will be different training needs for different staff. E.g. counter staff may need to understand nomination but not how to claiming.
  • Vital messages missed if training missed: In some of the cases where problems have arisen to date, pharmacy staff were offered training but chose not to take it because they initially felt that use of the system seemed intuitive.

EPS training sessions

More than 800 EPS training sessions, were organised by the NHS Digital EPS Team, held throughout England during 2015-16. The training events were organized in association with PMR dispensing system suppliers, Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs), and the Pricing Authority, to help all pharmacy staff including: counter staff, dispensing technicians, pharmacists and locums to get the most out of EPS.

The free training focused on three areas:

  1. pharmacy system training, tailored specifically to your PMR system, covering how to use EPS Release 2;
  2. business process change and how to get the best out of EPS, including business continuity; and
  3. a claiming and endorsing session presented by the Pricing Authority.

There were at least seven training sessions in each LPC area, covering each of the PMR systems:

  • Analyst;
  • CoMPaSS;
  • NexPhase;
  • Pharmacy Manager;
  • ProScript;
  • ProScript LINK;
  • Rx Webb.

Similar future training opportunities may be online or locally arranged.

When is the best time to undertake EPS training?

  • Time training close to GP go-live: If training is delivered too early (e.g. more than a few days) key messages can be forgotten. Many pharmacies have found that a few hours prior to go live is the best time to deliver training to pharmacy staff.
  • Second stage of training once pharmacy receives more R2 prescriptions: If the pharmacy is going-live well in advance of receiving R2 prescriptions, consider delivering training in two stages: (1) basic training on the go-live day (2) in-depth training at the point that the pharmacy starts receiving electronic prescriptions.
  • Capture nomination in advance: Where pharmacy teams have captured large volumes of nominations prior to a local surgery going live, this has enabled staff to cement business process change early. Where low numbers of nominations are recorded, the re-education of staff to new processes has been slower. If there is a delay of greater than four to six weeks between adjusting on the Personal Demographics Service, then re-confirm nomination in case they have selected another dispenser.
  • Use quiet periods for training:  E.g. when the pharmacy is closed or when there is locum cover. This will allow staff to concentrate fully.

What kind of training will work best in my pharmacy?

  • System supplier training: Find out what type is offered. E.g. one to one staff training, webinars, training videos, user manuals, quick reference guides and/or desk aids and help files on the system. A list of options available has been published on the NHS Digital Website.
  • Read system supplier information: Make sure that you take time to read any information packs you receive from your supplier as these could contain links to manuals, videos or dates of Webinar sessions.
  • Use e-learning: If the supplier offers this, ensure that dispensary computers can run the e-learning module – including playing any videos and sound.  

What should I do about business change?

  • Meet with local GP practices to agree changes to processes will help smooth implementation. In some areas, local NHS England teams organised workshops or awareness sessions to support discussions on business change.
  • Adapt existing business processes: To maximise the benefits. Explain the changes to staff.
  • Train locums with the process: Whilst locums might be familiar with the system, business processes are unique to each pharmacy.
  • Configurations adjusted to suit you: During system setup, ask for the system to be configured to suit your business processes. Spend time checking optional configurations to the system to meet your needs. 

Post-Training support?

  • Dealing with system issues: All staff should be made aware of the helpdesk process for system issues and keep the contact details visible in the event of any issues.
  • Consider scheduling a brief weekly troubleshooting session: This gives staff an opportunity to talk to each other, discuss new ways of working and make suggestions on how new processes can be optimised.

NHS Digital previously ensured minimum training standards were met by viewing all training materials and visiting sites to observe the delivery of the training. If a supplier has delivered training but the training methods or materials have not been sufficiently comprehensive, it is essential to let both the supplier and the NHS Digital EPS team ( know, so that improvements can be made.

Top tip Summary Advice
Staff support Having staff more knowledgeable on the topic can reduce the risk of problems. Assign an EPS lead within the pharmacy team to help other staff: A successful approach to implementation was the appointment of an in-store ‘pharmacy champion’ to provide first line support to other pharmacy staff during deployment of EPS R2.
Training Ensuring relevant staff are fully trained and comfortable with EPS can ensure a smoother transition and correct reimbursement. A range of fact-sheets can be found on the NHS Digital website and this site to support staff training.

Related resources

For more on preparing/enhancing EPS click on the link buttons below:

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