Building a Private Practice with Script Assist 2.0October 24, 2023 | IN NEWS | BY MCCS
The UK medical cannabis market has, for the most part, largely been characterised by patients having to turn to medical cannabis clinics for their medical cannabis prescriptions. Launched in April 2023, Script Assist was established to let any specialist prescribe medical cannabis from any private setting, for the first time enabling independent doctors to efficiently enhance their own private practise.
Earlier this month Script Assist 2.0 was released, containing a host of new features to enable independent prescribers to prescribe medical cannabis from any private setting.
We caught up with Hannah Simon, Script Assist’s COO, to understand her views on how Script Assist 2.0 revolutionises the UK medical cannabis prescription market for private prescribers.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Hannah. Could you please start off by explaining what Script Assist is, and how you support independent private prescribers?
Script Assist is a free Web Portal for doctors and their secretaries, that alongside a Patient App, enables an easy, seamless experience for all parties.
Script Assist automates all compliance and administrative tasks, has a formulary with live inventory, includes access to a free MDT and medical cannabis products are dispensed to patients via the Patient App.
This means that any specialist in the UK can now effortlessly prescribe medical cannabis to their patients from their own private practise.
We are licensed by the Home Office, the MHRA and the GPhC to undertake each step of the distribution and dispensing journey in the UK, which is why we can offer such an integrated, seamless experience.
What has changed with Script Assist 2.0, why is it so revolutionary?
Script Assist 1.0 was focussed on the basics: for us that meant digitising the entire prescription process from initiation through to dispensing, whilst ensuring strict adherence to GMC guidance. The licensing and software engineering elements of Script Assist 1.0 took around three years, but the result was a step-change for independent prescribers in the UK.
When doctors started using Script Assist 1.0, we learned a huge amount about how we could make the experience even more seamless, and that by broadening the scope of the technology, we can make Script Assist 2.0 an even more powerful tool.
First, Script Assist 1.0 was a tool for doctors. Script Assist 2.0 is a tool for doctors, medical secretaries and whomever else supports the doctor in their practise and can be used totally flexibly reflecting however the practise operates today. Limiting & removing administrative tasks from the doctor’s plate is one of our North Stars at Script Assist!
Script Assist 2.0 also has a lot more features. For example, printable FP10s, one-click represcribing, optional booking and telehealth via the Patient App, more extensive PROM frameworks, a much broader research library, the ability for doctors to work across multiple sites, and lot, lot more.
You’ve explained a lot about the technology itself, and it seems like you’ve solved the technical problems, what other support do you offer independent prescribers?
Well, as you know we work closely with yourselves at the MCCS to provide doctors with all the support that they require. We have trained between ourselves over 100 doctors since our launch, and we have another 30 signed up to our November Psychiatry training.
We also offer a whole host of day-to-day support to all our doctors for free. As a licensed company, we take regulations pretty seriously and so we offer a lot of regulatory support to our doctors to help them understand the parameters within which they can prescribe – and we cover everything; from the CQC, to FP10 applications, to Insurance etc.
In addition, all new Script Assist doctors are offered a buddy, and we also use the MDT sessions to provide a range of additional support services to our clinicians. For example, a Script Assist enabled doctor can submit a patient to the MDT and simply ask for guidance on what and how to prescribe, if they so wish.
We also offer live technical support, and our Script Assist customer service agents can access your session live to help you with any problems or questions you may have.
What does a private prescriber need to start prescribing medical cannabis from their private practise?
An independent prescriber must also work part-time in a clinic covered by the CQC (this can be as simple as being employed by the NHS).
They require a pink FP10 pad for Controlled Drugs prescribing (I have helped almost 100 doctors submit FP10 applications over the years and am more than happy to help anyone through this process!) and must add medical cannabis prescribing onto their medical indemnity insurance (again, I can help with this!). Other that that they need a DBS certificate, a GMC number and a passport or driver’s license!
Finally, a Script Assist account would make their lives a whole lot easier!
Does the CQC not need to be notified if an independent prescriber starts prescribing?
Independent doctors with practising privileges can prescribe medical cannabis in their private practice the same way as they prescribe any other medicine today. So in short the answer to this question is no. The CQC only need to be notified if a clinic/ hospital that is already covered by the CQC want to advertise medical cannabis prescribing as a service offering.
Can Script Assist help independent prescribers grow the number of patients in their practise?
In January we will be launching our Find a Doctor functionality. This means that on the Script Assist website patients will be able to view a directory of Script Assist enabled doctors, alongside the conditions for which they prescribe, their consultation rates, insurers (if patients have private medical insurance then consultations are covered as any other consultation would be) and other key information.
Patients will then be able to submit their profile and medical records (soon available digitally on Script Assist) to a clinician and request an initial consultation. We will be having a pretty extensive patient launch, it’s all rather exciting!
Thanks to Hannah Simon for taking the time to speak to us. We wish her and Script Assist well with the release of Script Assist 2.0 and their mission to empower independent prescribers in the UK.