Obtaining a Smartcard

Obtaining a Smartcard

The pharmacy contractor will need to contact the local Registration Authority (RA) during this three stage process.

1. Sponsor may make request to the RA that a user is registered

To speed up the process, if there is a Sponsor (in-branch or otherwise) they may request a registration and may use the relevant leaflet.

Alternatively the RA is to be contacted by the contractor or card user.

2. RA identity check is involved

The RA must be contacted and will facilitate the following five steps:

i. Face-to-face meeting

Practical arrangements differ across the country, in some areas RA agents are visiting pharmacies or attending local events such as LPC meetings and in other areas, there is a need to visit a local RA office. PSNC is encouraging RAs to work closely with LPCs to ensure that the arrangements are fair and manageable for all contractors in a locality.

ii. ID documentation to prove identity

Those registering for a Smartcard for the first time must provide three forms of ID (photo and non-photo), including proof of address.

iii. Identity confirmed by another person

Individuals must also have their details confirmed and application approved by another appointed individuals.

iv. Terms and conditions must be accepted

The user must confirm that they have understood the terms and conditions.

v. RA to check previous steps are completed

The RA staff will use the relevant leaflet.

The full registration process identity checks must satisfy government standard ‘e-GIF level 3’.

3. RA to issue Smartcard

The RA will use the the relevant leaflet.

Contact the local RA


Q. My Smartcard has been stolen/lost/broken – what should I do?
A. The RA must be contacted as soon as possible. Similar to the process mentioned for obtaining a new Smartcard, face-to-face identity will be required. The RA will cancel the potential usage of the old card and issue a new one.

Q. What if I already have a R1 Smartcard?

Pharmacists who already have an EPS Release 1 card may migrate to an R2 card.

Q. Do I use paper forms to submit information to the RA?
The CIS is an electronic system, and acts a portal for submitting information to the RA, but there are forms as a contingency process on the HSCIC website.

Q. What arrangements are in place to provide access to EPS Release 2 for non-locum pharmacists who practice across RA boundaries?
A. Prior to working at a pharmacy based in another area the pharmacist must contact the relevant Registration Authority for that area to organise for the appropriate user profile to be added to their Smartcard. The pharmacist’s sponsor should complete an RA02 form which is sent to RA Agent/Manager for the necessary amendments to be actioned. This can be done remotely i.e. the user does not have to be present.

If the pharmacist has the locum profile on their card, they are able to work at any EPS Release 2 enabled pharmacy in England and are not required to go through this process.

Q. What arrangements are in place to provide temporary access to EPS Release 2?
A. There is a Temporary Access Smartcard solution that ensures NHS CRS users that need it can have continued access to compliant applications in the event a user has lost or forgotten their Smartcard, or their Smartcard has been stolen or damaged.

Please note: Each RA will have its own arrangements and you are advised to contact your Registration Authority to find out what arrangements are in place for temporary access to EPS Release 2.

Q. If the pharmacy ODS code changes, do I need to update my smartcard? (i.e. will the smartcard stop working at that premises)
A. Yes, all pharmacy staff will be registered linked to ODS codes of the pharmacy sites where they operate the service on a regular basis. The exception to this model is the case of community pharmacists/dispensing technician locums who may need to work within many community pharmacies at short notice. In such cases, they will also have a user role profile registered against a generic organisation ODS code for a “locum pharmacy” that allows them to operate the system from any pharmacy.

If the pharmacy ODS code changes all users need to have the new ODS code added to their profile. An RA02 form needs to be completed and sent to the RA Manager to be actioned. This can be done before the removal of the old ODS code to aide transition.

To minimise the disruption caused by changes in ODS codes, a new ODS code should only be requested when a change of ownership occurs and the contractor buys out a business on a non debts and liabilities basis (i.e. the outgoing contractor requires payment for all items dispensed up to the date of sale). More information on ODS codes is available by clicking on the link below:

Allocation of ODS Codes

Q. My Registration Authority has recently requested my National Insurance Number. Do I need to provide this information?
A. The National Insurance Number (NIN) is a mandatory field in the Spine User Directory which is the database that contains individual’s user profiles for access to national systems such as the Electronic Prescription Service. The NIN will be used to support registration authorities in identifying individuals on the smart card registration system. The Department of Health and Social Care has received confirmation from the Information Commissioner and the Department of Work and Pensions that the NIN number can be used for this purpose.

If individuals did not originally provide this information when applying for an EPS Release 1 smart card, they will need to provide this information when renewing their registration or editing registration details.

Q. My RA has told me that they will not be issuing cards at present. Who should I contact to resolve this?
A. If an RA is refusing to issue cards or not issuing cards in a timely manner, we would recommend contacting your LPC in the first instance who will be able to take this up with the local NHS England team. Where issues persist, LPCs can escalate to PSNC who in turn will escalate to HSCIC as required.

Q. I live in Wales but locum occasionally in England. How do I go about obtaining a card?
A. You will require a smartcard to access EPS in pharmacies in England. You will be able to obtain a smartcard from the RA in the area that you work.

Related resources

The Smartcard model.

For more on preparing/enhancing EPS use the buttons below:

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For more on Smartcards use the buttons below:

eps arrow yellow-previous eps box yellow- home- eps box yellow- smartcard eps arrow yellow-next


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