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NHS Norfolk

Hitting Performance and Financial Targets with ScriptSwitch

Back in 2007, NHS Norfolk began using ScriptSwitch as part of a programme to aid financial recovery, achieving savings in excess of £575,000 in 2007/08.

Ian Small, Deputy Head of Medicines Management and Prescribing at NHS Norfolk was introduced to ScriptSwitch following the merger of five PCTs. NHS Norfolk covers a large and fairly rural area so there were many challenges merging five PCTs into one, as Ian explains. “For new users of Scriptswitch, a suggested profile is available. However it’s important to review the profile database, customising it to your PCT area to ensure it addresses the needs of the local population. I was unfamiliar with the ScriptSwitch service, but once I sat down with the Medicines Management team to explore its possibilities and make the profile locally relevant, its value became immediately obvious, ensuring quality and consistency of prescribing across the region.”

For Ian and his team it was important to involve the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and Local Medical Committee when deciding what recommended switches to put into the database, in order for all stakeholders to feel ownership of the profile. As a result, over 60% of GP surgeries in the NHS Norfolk area now use the service and it has become an integral part of how Ian and his team deliver high standards of patient care to the local community.

“We like to give our GPs the choice of whether to use ScriptSwitch, however, we’ve found that once the solution has been demonstrated, GP practices do latch on to its usefulness.” - Ian Small, Deputy Head of Medicines Management and Prescribing

Today, NHS Norfolk continues to use ScriptSwitch as a key solution to support GP prescribing. In 2009, once again, significant cost savings were made contributing to around 20% of the overall savings target for NHS Norfolk prescribing budget, helping Ian and his team to stay on track financially. While continuing to deliver significant financial savings, the value of ScriptSwitch is now also apparent in other key areas, such as patient safety and education, as well as supporting locums who may not be familiar with local formulary.

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