Release 2 of the Electronic Prescription Service has gone live at its first site in Leeds, NHS Connecting for Health has announced.

Liptrots pharmacy and Calverley Medical Centre have become the first pharmacy and GP practice in England to use EPS R2.

They are using Cegedim’s Pharmacy Manager and TPP’s SystmOne, the first pharmacy and GP systems to be accredited for EPS R2.

EPS R2, which was originally due to go live in October 2007, delivers much of the business benefit of the electronic transmission of prescriptions, including nomination of pharmacies, electronic prescription signing and the ability for GPs to electronically cancel prescriptions.

CfH said EPS R2 was a necessary evolution from the out of date paper prescription system. It added: “With 1.5 million prescriptions being issued every day across England and the total increasing by 5% every year, the NHS needs an efficient, clinically-safe, electronic system, able to cope with this pattern of prescribing.”

Calverley Medical Centre has been using EPS R1 since October 2007 and Liptrots has been using EPS R1 since 2006.

Patients at the medical centre who have nominated Liptrots as their pharmacy will no longer have to call at the GP surgery to pick up a paper prescription. Patients should also benefit from reduced waiting times at pharmacies as prescriptions can be prepared in advance, CfH said.

Tim Donohoe, programmes and operations director for CfH, said: "This is a key milestone for EPS. We have been working closely with the suppliers, CSC/TPP and Cegedim, as well as Leeds PCT, Calverley Medical Centre and Liptrots pharmacy in Leeds to introduce EPS R2, which will bring real benefits to patients, GP practices and pharmacy staff.

“We will now focus on learning the lessons from this initial implementation and encouraging other suppliers and PCTs to progress with their plans to deliver the benefits of EPS R2 to every GP practice and pharmacy in England.”

Local pharmacist, Jim Liptrot said: “I am sure that this service will be of real benefit to patients and healthcare professionals. It will provide a convenient, flexible, safe and efficient service. I am delighted that our pharmacy is at the forefront of this important and pioneering technological system.”

NHS Leeds is one of 17 initial implementer PCTs for EPS R2.