EPS Release 1
There were two main phases during Release 1 – 'initial implementers' and 'nationwide deployment'. These phases are almost complete with only a small proportion of prescribing and dispensing sites still not able to use EPS Release 1.
There are a number of different prescribing and dispensing systems that are used in GP practices and dispensing contractors. In order for these systems to become compatible with the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), suppliers have to put them through a rigorous testing procedure which is controlled by NHS Connecting for Health.
See supplier status for more information.
Once a system had been proven to meet the safety and technical standards set, it had to be tested further in a 'live' environment. These are known as 'initial implementer sites'.
Typically, prescribing and dispensing systems were tested in sites that are in close proximity to each other. This ensures that the dispensing initial implementer site received an adequate volume of EPS generated prescriptions.
The first Release 1 initial implementer sites went live in February 2005.
Once a system meets the requirements at the initial implementer site(s), it is then rolled-out to end users on a national scale. In order for end users to operate the EPS, they must also have suitable network connectivity in place which connects them to N3 – the National Network for the NHS. They are also required to register via their PCT for a Smartcard and pin number which gives them access to the EPS.
There is no need to coordinate deployment at prescribing and dispensing sites, because EPS Release 1 prescriptions can still be dispensed by non-EPS enabled dispensing sites using the traditional process.
There are few noticeable changes for end users and patients during the deployment of EPS Release 1. Therefore, training requirements for users of EPS compatible systems are minimal.
Release 1 case studies
Find out about the experiences of people using or implementing EPS Release 1 in text and video case studies.