All EPS enabled pharmacies in England must have the new controlled drug functionality before any prescribing sites can send Schedule 2 or 3 CDs.
Based on latest plans from suppliers, it is looking like CDs won’t be available in all dispensing sites until the end of 2018.
There were modest and non-significant differences in patients very satisfied with the consultation between the randomised groups (79%, 74%, 80%, 88%, 89%, respectively; likelihood ratio test χ 2.38, P=0.667), belief in antibiotics (71%, 74%, 73%, 72%, 66%; 1.62, P=0.805), or antibiotic use (26%, 37%, 37%, 33%, 39%; 4.96, P=0.292).
By contrast, most patients given immediate antibiotics used antibiotics (97%) and strongly believed in them (93%), but with no benefit for symptom severity (score 1.76) or duration (median 4 days).
Building on the 2015/16 agreement, practices will be encouraged to transmit prescriptions electronically using EPS Release 2, unless the patient asks for a paper prescription or the necessary legislative or technical enablers are not in place.
Secondary analysis included comparison with immediate use of antibiotics.
Results Mean symptom severity had minimal differences between the strategies involving no prescription and delayed prescription (recontact, post-date, collection, patient led; 1.62, 1.60, 1.82, 1.68, 1.75, respectively; likelihood ratio test χ 4 days; 4.29, P=0.368).
Interventions Patients judged not to need immediate antibiotics were randomised to undergo four strategies of delayed prescription: recontact for a prescription, post-dated prescription, collection of the prescription, and be given the prescription (patient led).
During the trial, a strategy of no antibiotic prescription was added as another randomised comparison. Main outcome measures Mean symptom severity (0-6 scale) at days 2-4 (primary outcome), antibiotic use, and patients’ beliefs in the effectiveness of antibiotic use.