Pharmacy system supplier Cegedim Rx has become the first supplier to receive roll-out approval for Release 2 of the Electronic Prescription Service.

The Department of Health said Cegedim Rx’s Pharmacy Manager system had passed the standard assurance process for initial implementation in a limited number of pharmacies in England and will now be rolled out to 200 sites.

A DH spokesperson added: “Use of EPS by GP surgeries and pharmacies offers benefits to patients as well as helping GPs and pharmacists administratively.

“This is being carefully introduced and the roll-out has been limited to 200 sites in order to ensure that safe and steady progress is made and that the supplier has the capacity to successfully deliver while increasing patient safety and efficacy.”

Simon Driver, Cegedim Rx managing director, told EHI Primary Care that he backed NHS Connecting for Health’s cautious approach.

“It’s probably the way I would do it anyway and it gives us chance to look at our deployment plans, training and so on. We will now work with CfH and pair with the GP sites that they want us to work with.”

Driver said the company has 2,760 pharmacies using Pharmacy Manager and a further 3,500 using its Nexphase software. He predicted this would receive full roll-out approval in the next six to eight weeks.

He said the company was also dependent on GP system suppliers receiving full roll-out approval and predicted roll-out of EPS R2 would gather pace in the first quarter of next year.

He added: “Most of our customers are now used to EPS R1 and although it all went a bit quiet after that there is a definitely an appetite from some of our customers who want to get on with it.”

Latest information on the CfH website shows that EMIS hopes to receive full roll-out for EPS R2 in October this year for its EMIS Web product. INPS expects to receive full roll-out approval for EPS R2 for Vision 3 in March next year.

ISoft is at the scoping stage for EPS R2 functionality in its Synergy software with no further Spine developments planned for its Premiere software. Microtest is hoping to receive full roll-out approval for EPS R2 in April 2011.

TPP’s SystmOne has also been in first of type testing and was the first software to be deployed in an initial implementer site.

Pharmacy system suppliers AAH, Positive Solutions and RxSystems are hoping to receive full roll-out approval for their software systems in the last three months of 2010. Two further suppliers, Helix Health and Pharmasys, expect to gain approval in the first quarter of 2011.