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Treasury proposes ‘digital by default’ prescriptions



Paper includes plan for click-and-collect service as part of ‘better deal’ for citizens and businesses

NHS prescriptions will be ordered online and delivered to the door as a matter of routine under proposals drawn up by the Treasury to make Britain a more competitive nation.

A paper published today under the title A better deal: boosting competition to bring down bills for families and firms, covers consumer and business issues ranging from the cost of school uniforms to setting up a “Crown Marketplace” for public procurement. It includes an introduction by Chancellor George Osborne and the Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

The plan to modernise pharmacy and prescription services appears in the “helping households” section. According to the document: “The government will examine the NHS community pharmacy market to ensure that the regulatory framework and payments system is efficient, encourages competition and innovation, and that it facilitates online, delivery to door and click and collect, pharmacy and prescription services.

“As part of this, the government will explore moving the GP prescription service to a digital by default system.”

Medicines online

The paper observes that around 37.6 million adults in Great Britain used the internet on a daily basis in 2014, and the proportion of adults using the internet to make a purchase has increased from 53% in 2008 to 74% in 2014. “Despite this, less than 10% of adults ordered their medicine online.”

It adds: “The government wants to ensure that the health service in England keeps pace with the digital revolution and that, both for hardworking families leading busy lives and for an increasingly elderly population with complex needs, patients can access the medicines they need at the touch of a button and receive a home-delivery service.”

Crown Marketplace

In the section “helping businesses” meanwhile, the Treasury makes a renewed pledge to make the government’s £44bn annual procurement spend more accessible to small businesses.

It proposes: “Building on the lessons of the success of the Digital Marketplace, the government will create a Crown Marketplace, which will extend this approach to the purchase of other common goods
and services in government.”


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