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Electronic Prescribing EPS and eRD inc. Remote consultations

Electronic Prescribing Service - EPS

NHS Digital are continuing to drive  Electronic Prescribing.

Electronic Prescribing Service - Phase 4 was deployed from 18th November 2019, initially to TPP SystmOne following a pilot in 2018. The roll out plans for EMIS, Vision and Microtest will follow. 

Phase 4 of EPS allows prescriptions for patients without an EPS nomination to be signed, sent and processed electronically.

The electronic prescription is sent to the Electronic Prescription Service, where it can then be downloaded by a dispenser who has also upgraded their computer system to use EPS.

Patients have the option to choose, or 'nominate' a dispensing contractor to receive their electronic prescription automatically ­ without the need for any paper.

Patients without an EPS nomination will be given a token (patients may refer to this as a paper copy of their prescription) to present at a community pharmacy or Dispensing Appliance Contractor (DAC) to obtain their medication. This token will contain a unique barcode which can be scanned at any community pharmacy or DAC in England to download the prescription from the NHS Spine and retrieve the medication details.

Paper prescriptions will continue to be available in special circumstances, but almost all prescriptions will be processed electronically.

Prescribers will have the ability to cancel electronic prescriptions at any point up until they are dispensed and record the reason why they were cancelled. Also, prescriptions for nominated dispensing contractors will no longer need to be sent by post in situations where this was previously necessary.

Phase 4 - Information for GP Practices contains details on how it works in practice along with resources and templates.

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Prescribing in Remote Consultations

GMC updated guidance (Feb 2021)

With more and more remote consultations the GPC thought it important to highlight that the GMC have published updated guidance on prescribing, to support doctors who are increasingly seeing patients via remote and virtual consultations.

Key updates include:

Electronic Prescription Service in Remote Consultations

NHS Digital Updated Guidance – April 2020

Updated guidance has been published by NHS Digital and the key points to note are:

If the patient has an EPS nomination in place already, the prescribing system will automatically default to send the prescription to that dispenser.

Changing a Nomination

If a patient wishes to make a temporary change of nomination, it is important to tell the patient that:

The change of nomination will apply to future prescriptions and may also affect any that they have not yet collected from their pharmacy.

Once they have received their medication from the ‘temporary’ pharmacy, they should ask the pharmacy to change their nomination back to their usual pharmacy. Alternatively, they can contact the practice or their usual pharmacy when they wish to re-set their nomination. They can also change it themselves if this functionality is available to them via their patient-facing service or app.

If the prescriber changes the nomination back or removes it too soon (i.e. before the intended pharmacy has downloaded the prescription), then that pharmacy will not receive the prescription in their routine download.

One-off Nomination

This is only available in some prescribing systems but, if available, can be used to override the patient’s regular pharmacy for this prescription without affecting future prescriptions which will continue to be sent to the patient’s regular nominated dispenser. The one-off prescription would be affected if the regular nomination is changed before it is collected.

EPS Phase 4 (non-nominated) Prescriptions

Currently only available in some prescribing systems.

If an EPS nomination is not a suitable option and if EPS phase 4 is enabled, send the prescription as a non-nominated EPS prescription. The prescription will be signed electronically and sent to the Spine. The prescribing system will default to print a token, which would be given to the patient if they were present, to take to a pharmacy of their choice.

In scenarios where the patient is not present to collect the token, they can still go to a pharmacy to ask them to download and dispense the prescription.

It is important to:

Nominations – Consent and Recording

Patients must be informed and given their consent before a nomination is recorded. The consent doesn’t have to be in writing but you do need to have an auditable process.

The patient’s nomination should be recorded in the Pharmacy Medicine Record (PMR) system or GP system, and it is then updated on the NHS Spine.

Once updated, the nomination will be visible to both the patient’s GP practice and their pharmacy. The patient’s prescriptions will then be sent via EPS to their nominated pharmacy, unless they request otherwise.


Increasing Electronic Repeat Dispensing

The NHS Business Services Authority has launched a service to help GP practices increase electronic repeat dispensing (eRD). You can request the NHS numbers of patients who may find the service useful, based on their prescribing data.

The whole repeatable prescription can be set up for as long as a year but each repeat should not be for longer than the patient has now.

For example, if the patient has prescriptions for a month’s supply now, then the repeat dispensing should be set up as up to 13 x 28 days’ supply.

Guidance for Practices

The NHSBA will:

The practice can then arrange for verified patients to be moved to eRD. All requests for NHS Numbers as part of the COVID-19 response should be made to .

Information for Patients
To help explain eRD to your patients, the NHSBSA and Wessex AHSN have created a poster for practices’ entrances. To download the poster, visit the NHSBSA website .

Further Guidance

For further guidance, go to:


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Updated on Wednesday, 3 March 2021 2031 views