Deployment of release 1 of the electronic prescription service (EPS) commenced in February 2005 when the software was delivered and is now largely complete. Currently, 86 per cent. of all general practitioner practice sites and 87 per cent. of pharmacies are technically enabled. On average, EPS is being used for around 30 per cent. of prescribed daily prescription messages.
The software for release 2 was delivered in August 2006 and final compliance preparations are under way by general practitioner and pharmacy information technology suppliers for the implementation of release 2. 17 initial implementer primary care trusts have been specified in Secretary of State Directions as those that may authorise the use of the EPS by their prescribers. Subject to the conclusion of ongoing compliance testing, deployment to an initial implementation site is expected to start shortly.
NHS Connecting for Health has engaged with clinicians and patient groups to help inform the development of communication and guidance materials that will support the initial implementation of release 2.