The first early adopter site for Release 2 of the Electronic Prescription Service is expected to begin this summer, according to the Department of Health.

Care services minister Phil Hope told MPs in response to a parliamentary question that one GP system and one pharmacy system are completing the final stages of clinical safety testing.

TPP’s SystmOne and Cegedim Rx’s Pharmacy Manager system are expected to be the first GP and dispensing systems to achieve initial implementation.

Latest information on the NHS Connecting for Health website shows that SystmOne is in first of type business enablement testing, with full testing dependent on pharmacy system enablement, and that Cegedim Rx’s Pharmacy Manager has received technical accreditation.

In his answer Phil Hope said: “Based on current supplier plans it is hoped that initial implementation will begin in the summer.”

The care services minister said latest supplier plans showed that seven pharmacy and six GP systems were expecting to complete the CfH assurance process in the next 12 months.

The roll-out of EPS release 2 has faced several delays awaiting the compliance of GP and pharmacy systems with initial implementations originally scheduled for October 2007.

Release 2 will deliver increased functionality for pharmacists, GPs and patients including nomination of pharmacies, electronic prescription signing and electronic repeat dispensing.

The initial implementation sites for Release 2 have been divided into two waves, with five primary care trusts – Berkshire East, Leicestershire County and Rutland, Liverpool, Southwark and Sunderland – in the first wave.

In the mean time the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has issued a reminder to community pharmacists that any outstanding allowances for implementing release one of EPS must be claimed by 31 July.