Ten additional primary care trusts are to be given permission to go ahead with release two of the Electronic Prescription Service.

The Department of Health has confirmed that 10 PCTs, in addition to the 17 initial implementer trusts, have been authorised to take part in EPS R” from May 1 this year.

The ten additional PCTs are in Bexley, Bolton, Bury, Croydon, Hull, North Lincolnshire, Salford, Tameside and Glossop, North East Essex and Oldham.

The DH said good progress was being made with EPS R2 first of type testing via the 17 initial implementer sites. So far three pharmacy systems, Cegedim Rx’s Pharmacy Manager and Nexphase and Rx Systems’ Proscript, have achieved technical accreditation and initial implementation approval. The only GP system which has achieved initial implementation approval is TPP’s SystmOne.

NHS North East Essex said EPS R2 would be introduced on a phase basis from May 1 and said patients had already been receiving information about nominating a pharmacy to receive their prescription once the programme begins.

Yvonne Benstead, EPS project manager at NHS North east Essex, said the introduction of EPS would make a life a lot easier for many people, particularly those on repeat prescriptions, as patients would no longer have to visit their GP to pick up a prescription.

She added: “If people don’t want to ‘nominate’ they can continue to pick up their paper prescription in the traditional way, and they can change from one system to the other if they find that more suitable.”

Clacton GP Dr Gary Sweeney added: “I am sure EPS will be welcomed by patients, particularly those who require repeat prescriptions, as a more convenient way of collecting their prescriptions. GPs will also be spending less time writing prescriptions which will enable us to spend more time with patients.”

PCTs that wish to take part in EPS R2 need to be listed in statutory directions published in 2008.