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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

EPS R2: Tips for Planning Staff Training

To fully realise the potential of the Electronic Prescription Service and minimise disruptions, pharmacy staff need to be appropriately trained in how to use the system. Although it is still early days in the national deployment of EPS Release 2, problems have already arisen that are directly attributable to either inadequate training or the absence of training.

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 - consider setting out a plan with a rough timetable outlining who will be available and when.
  • Make provision for part time staff and locums.
  • Different staff will have different training needs. For example, counter staff may need to understand the nomination functionality but not how to submit a reimbursement claim. Training needs to be relevant to an individual's role.
  • For part-time staff, some pharmacies have chosen a 'train the trainer approach', training a member of the pharmacy team to train part time workers.
  • In some of the cases where problems have arisen to date, pharmacy staff were offered training but chose not to take it because they felt that use of the system was intuitive. This meant that they missed out on key messages, causing problems at a later date. It is important to make sure that everyone participates in training.

When is the best time to undertake EPS training?

  • Make sure that the training is delivered at a point in time that ensures training messages are absorbed. It has been found that a few hours prior to go live is the best time to deliver training to pharmacy staff. Any more than a few days and key messages can be forgotten.
  • If the pharmacy is going-live well in advance of receiving electronic prescriptions, consider whether it is better to deliver training in two stages with basic training on the go-live day and more in-depth training at the point that the pharmacy starts receiving electronic prescriptions. The key is to ensure that messages are delivered at the time they are required.
  • Where pharmacies 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.
  • Consider arranging training in quieter periods/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?

  • Find out what kind of training your system supplier is offering. For example one to one staff training, the provision of a training environment, 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 CfH Website. Click on the link below for more information: Suppliers Training Matrix (external link)
  • 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.
  • If the supplier is offering an e-learning facility, ensure that the computers in the pharmacy are capable of accessing and running the e-learning module - including playing any videos and sound.

What should I do about business change?

  • To maximise the benefits of EPS Release 2, pharmacies need to adapt existing business processes. These changes also need to be communicated to staff.
  • Whilst locums may have received training in system functionality at another pharmacy, business processes are unique to every pharmacy so ensure locums are briefed on these changes.
  • Holding planning meetings with local GP practices to agree changes to processes will help smooth implementation. In some areas, PCTs are organising workshops or awareness sessions to support discussions on business change.
  • During system setup, ask your supplier to check the system is configured in line with your expectations on business processes and ensure that time is spent making any optional configurations to the system to meet your needs.

Post Training support?

  • Some pharmacies have found it helpful to schedule brief weekly troubleshooting sessions which would give staff an opportunity to talk to each other, discuss new ways of working and make suggestions on how new processes can be optimised.
  • Staff members need to know who they can contact for day-to-day support. Consider appointing an 'EPS champion' within the pharmacy that staff can go to for support.
  • 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.

Supplier's training materials were quality assured by the HSCIC as part of the process to receive authority to deploy EPS Release 2. This included a full review of all the training materials and site visits to observe the delivery of the supplier's training. If a supplier has delivered training but the training methods or materials have not been sufficiently comprehensive, it is essential that this is fed back to the supplier and the EPS team so that materials can continue to be adapted and enhanced to meet user's needs. Feedback can be emailed directly to the EPS mailbox: 

More Information

PMR suppliers are offering are a range of training methods and materials. A list of options available can be found on the HSCIC website. Click on the link below for more information:

Suppliers Training Matrix (external link)