A further 33 primary care trusts have been approved to roll-out Release 2 of the Electronic Prescriptions Service.

The Department of Health announced that the national EPS directions evaluation panel has approved 33 PCTs to be added to the EPS directions.

This will raise the total number of PCTs with directions to 116, once the three-month notice period ends on 1 December.

PCTs must apply for Secretary of State directions to roll out EPS R2, which allows GPs to sign a prescription electronically and send it directly to a nominated pharmacy.

In early 2011, the DH stopped any more PCTs from applying because of delays to the roll-out, which it blamed on slow progress from system suppliers.

However, the DH recently confirmed that it was re-establishing the process.

A total of 283 general practices and more than 6,300 dispensing contractors are ready to start using EPS R2, and all GP clinical suppliers except iSoft have roll-out approval.

There is a three-month notice period between the announcement that a PCT will be added to the directions’ schedule and the updated directions being issued. 

This is to give all dispensing contractors an opportunity to respond to their local prescribers’ change in status. 

Other PCTs wanting to apply for directions must do so by 21 September. A full list of the 33 PCTs can be found on the DH website.