NHS Digital

What is the Electronic Prescription Service?

EPS enables prescribers – such as GPs and practice nurses – to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser of the patient’s choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and staff. Dispensing contractors can dispense electronic prescriptions as soon as they are EPS Release 2 enabled.
Normally patients require a “nominated pharmacy” to receive electronic prescriptions – but the development of “Phase 4” is currently being enabled across a number of GP prescribing systems – which enables electronic prescriptions to be the normal route of supply (patients don’t require a nomination).

Read more on the NHS Digital website – Electronic Prescription Service

Read more on the NHS Digital website – Phase 4


Prescribers (or other authorised staff at the GP practice) will be able to cancel electronic prescriptions at any point up until they are dispensed provided the prescription is on the spine. Prescriptions can be returned to the Spine for cancellation, or retrieval by another pharmacy. Items marked as not dispensed cannot, as this “completes” the item as does the claim for the item.

Read more on the NHS Digital website – Cancelling

Repeat Dispensing

For patients on a repeat dispensing regime, the next prescription will drop into the pharmacy system 7 days prior to the due date.
The due date is calculated as the date the previously dispensed prescription within the regime was marked as dispensed (and a dispensed notification was sent from the PMR system) plus the amount of days treatment prescribed. Hence a delay in marking a prescription as taken by the patient will delay the next issue.

Claims must be made within 180 days of the dispense notification being applied, after this time the item/prescription will not be able to be marked for payment by the NHSBSA.

Read more on the NHS Digital website – Electronic Repeat Dispensing


Once marked as dispensed the prescription can be claimed electronically taking care to ensure that any endorsements and exemptions are applied to the electronic prescription before it is sent.

Read more on the NHS Digital website – Claiming Reimbursement


Tokens can be printed by the practice (prescribing tokens – green) or the pharmacy (dispensing tokens – white) if required but can only be used to dispense from EPS by scanning the barcode (even if they have been signed by a doctor in error). The electronic prescription message is the legal entity and not the token.
Pharmacies usually print tokens to use in the assembly process for the prescription.
For any non-age exempt patients, tokens must be signed by the patient on the back and sent by the pharmacy to the BSA along with FP10 prescriptions but sorting in order is not required.

Read more on the NHS Digital website – Tokens

There is the development of the Real-Time Exemption Checking service – which can identify some patients who are entitled to free prescriptions.

Read more on the NHS Digital website – RTEC