Pharmacy system supplier Cegedim Rx hopes to receive final accreditation for roll-out of Release 2 of the Electronic Prescription Service by the end of next month.

However, deployment is being held back by slow progress from GP system suppliers.

Cegedim Rx told EHI Primary Care that it hopes to be in a position technically to deploy the functionality for its Pharmacy Manager software from May onwards. But roll-out will depend on the accreditation of more GP software systems.

Only TPP’s SystmOne and INPS’s Vision system are currently involved in initial implementation sites covering 12 pharmacies in Leeds, North East Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Sunderland and Trafford. Several of the sites are still using test prescriptions.

Simon Driver, managing director of Cegedim Rx, told EHI Primary Care: “We still have a major issue in as much as not all GP system suppliers are advanced and therefore until they have supplied the accredited software to the doctors we have a project that is still not joined up.”

GP system supplier EMIS, which covers 59% of GP practices in England, has confirmed that no significant development will take place in EMIS LV and EMIS PCS. 

Its efforts are being focused on delivery of EMIS Web 3.0, which is expected to go into first-of-type testing in the next few weeks.

EMIS Web 3.0 will include all NHS Connecting for Health functionality including EPS R2 and GP practices will need to migrate to EMIS Web to take advantage of R2.

In addition to Pharmacy Manager, three other dispensing systems have achieved initial implementation. They are Cegedim’s Nexphase system, ProScript from Rx Systems and the Lloyd Pharmacy system.

Primary care trusts need to be included by Secretary of State for Health directions before they can participate on EPS R2. The initial 17 initial implementer PCTs will be joined by ten more trusts at the beginning of next month, with directions for those PCTs coming into force on 1 May.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Initial implementation of EPS Release 2 is an ongoing activity with three dispensing systems having approval to use live patients.

"There are currently 12 pharmacies that are showing on NHS Choices as enabled to use EPS Release 2. Updates on supplier progress will continue to be published on the website.”