Testing has started ahead of the first pilot for Release 2 of the Electronic Prescription Service, following accreditation of Cegedim Rx’s Pharmacy Manager system.

TPP’s SystmOne has already been accredited for EPS R2, and the accreditation of Pharmacy Manager means preparatory work for the pilot site can now go ahead.

Cegedim RX told EHI Primary Care that it was at test site stage, using test data, and that clinical safety group testing was due to begin later this week.

Cegedim Rx and TPP demonstrated the EPS R2 functionality at last month’s Innovation Expo conference and exhibition.

Cegedim said the show was the first time a public end-to-end demonstration of EPS R2 functionality between a GP and pharmacy system had taken place.

The demonstration involved creating and dispensing prescriptions, viewing previously prepared repeat prescriptions at the GP practice, cancelling items at the GP practice, viewing how the cancelled items are displayed at the pharmacy and handling nominations in GP practice and pharmacy environments.

Natalie Wilson, marketing manager at Cegedim Rx, said there was plenty of interest in the new functionality. She added: “We were very excited to play a part in NHS Connecting for Health’s first end-to-end demonstration of EPS release 2 and gained some fantastic feedback from delegates.”

The start of EPS R2 was originally scheduled for October 2007 but has faced delays awaiting the compliance of GP and pharmacy systems.

A total of 17 initial implementer sites have been identified for R2, of which five primary care trusts are in the first wave – Berkshire East, Leicestershire County and Rutland, Liverpool, Southwark and Sunderland.

Functionality in R2 will mean GPs will be able to apply digital signatures to prescriptions, patients will be able to nominate pharmacies and electronic repeat dispensing will be brought in.

Last month, care services minister Phil Hope told MPs that the first early adopter site for R2 was expected to begin this summer.