NHS Connecting for Health is recruiting primary care trusts to be initial implementation sites for release two of the electronic prescription service.

Release two will deliver digital signatures for prescriptions, enable patients to nominate pharmacies, improve electronic repeat dispensing processes and enable GPs to cancel a prescription at any time up until the medication is dispensed.

Tim Donohoe, Connecting for Health (CfH) group programme director for the EPS and principal pharmacist Susan Grieve wrote to PCTs last week seeking expressions of interest for the pilot phase.

The letter says CfH would like to use live release two functionality across many different systems ensuring interoperability and data integrity outside a test environment.

It adds: “We are looking for a mixture of working scenarios, ensuring that commercial sensitivities are effectively managed.”

PCTs are invited to express their interest in the process and to propose GP practices and pharmacies that may be suitable and willing to take part. The letter adds: “This is an opportunity to lead the way with a service that is likely to be highly desired by clinicians.”

Proposed sites will be compared against an agreed criteria which includes evidence of the PCT having a track record in similar initiatives, evidence that appropriate resource is in place such as a named EPS lead, registration authority and helpdesk, plus an effective partnership between the PCT, professional representative organisations, practices, pharmacies and suppliers and patient representative groups.

GP practices and pharmacists must also have some experience in the use of repeat dispensing and have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place. GP practices will also be expected to provide evidence of readiness to be accredited for the data accreditation standard provided by PRIMIS+, the IM&T directed enhanced service or a local data quality initiative that is equal in standard.

PCTs are asked to submit proposal by 17 May 2007. Successful PCTs are expected to be notified by the end of June with pilot sites beginning later in the year.


DH letter inviting expressions of interest