The Electronic Prescription Service
The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) allows GPs to generate electronic prescriptions that will replace paper orders, improving accuracy and safety by ensuring prescription information need only be typed in once.
Find out more about the 10 key NHS IT projects
♦  NHS Care Records Service
♦  Choose and Book
♦  The Electronic Prescription Service
♦  N3 national broadband network
♦ Picture Archiving and Communications System (Pacs)
♦  The Spine
♦ The Quality Management and Analysis System
♦ GP2GP record transfer
♦ NHSmail- a central email and directory service for the NHS
♦  Secondary Uses Service
EPS will also be integrated with the NHS Care Records Service, recording what medicines have been prescribed and actually dispensed to patients.
It is being rolled out in two releases: the first adds barcodes to paper prescriptions to speed up repeat prescriptions. The second release, meanwhile, will add electronic signatures to authorise electronic prescriptions.
Patients with regular prescriptions are able to nominate a pharmacy to receive the prescription electronically and prepare the their medicine in advance.
The project will involve "an enormous logistical challenge", the NHS said, because it involves upgrading prescribing and dispensing systems, as well as issuing smart cards to control staff access to the service.
What progress so far?
The service is widely available across the UK, used in 6,746 surgeries and 9,038 pharmacies.
More than 111 million prescription messages have now been transmitted electronically and EPS is being used for more than 24 per cent of daily prescription messages.
The first release is working well for pharmacies and is saving time in the processing of batches of repeat prescriptions.
The second release is being tested before being deployed nationally to ensure it works well on local systems, with download times expected to vary depending on network speeds and other factors.