The British National Formulary (BNF), which provides information for healthcare professionals on the selection and clinical use of medicines, as well as the British National Formulary for Children are now available online through the UK National Health Service’s (NHS) Medical Research Service (MRS).

The initiative is one of the projects launched under the Common User Interface programme, a joint undertaking between the NHS Connecting for Health agency and software supremo Microsoft.

BNF publishing director Dominic Vaughan said incorporating the BNF and BNF for Children into the MRS would provide ready access to two “unique sources of authoritative information for all those involved in prescribing, monitoring, supplying and administering medicines within the NHS”.

The MRS is designed to help NHS staff cope with the huge volume of information available to them from numerous sources, both print and online, by integrating this information and making it more easily accessible.

The service is offered to all NHS staff and consists of three main tools: the Deskbar Search and Research Pane, which can be used directly within the Microsoft Office environment; the Sharepoint feature, which allows web-based access to the MRS; and a website (www.medicalresearchservices.nhs.uk) that explains the various tools available through the service.

The BNF is published jointly by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.