PSNC Briefing 079/13: Changes in NHS organisational responsibilities in relation to NHS IT: Update (July 2013)

PSNC Briefing 079/13: Changes in NHS organisational responsibilities in relation to NHS IT: Update (July 2013)

New EPS Website

On the 1st April 2013, NHS Connecting for Health closed and many of its functions, including the Electronic Prescription Service, were transferred to the new Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The new website address is: The contact details for the HSCIC’s EPS implementation managers can be found at: If you are having problems finding out who to contact locally on EPS related issues such as the issue of smartcards and tokens, the EPS Implementation Managers may be able to help.

Process for Authorising GP Deployments post-1st April

Prior to 1st April 2013, only PCTs that had been authorised through Secretary of State Directions could direct their GPs to start issuing electronic NHS prescriptions. A list of GPs that have been authorised to start issuing electronic prescriptions under the old governance arrangements can be found on the NHS England website.

Under the ‘new NHS’ (with effect 1st April 2013), for a GP practice to deploy EPS Release 2 they are required to submit an application form to the relevant NHS England area team to request authorisation to use electronic prescriptions. This form may be submitted by the GP practice directly, through its CCG or through the local support organisation responsible for providing GP IT support services on behalf of the CCG (e.g. CSU or Health Informatics Service). To ensure dispensing contractors are given sufficient notice of GP go lives, the applications should be submitted at least 8 weeks before the proposed go-live date. Also, to ensure pharmacies affected by a deployment can access pre-requisites such as tokens and smartcards, the application form requires the applying organisation to confirm a number of points including that relevant LPCs have been engaged as part of the deployment process. The Area Team will reject the application if one or more of the following reasons apply:

–      If the proposed implementation date included in the application provides less than 8-weeks’ notice;

–      if the applying organisation has not confirmed that relevant LPCs have been engaged or;

–      where smartcards and dispensing tokens (FP10DTs) are not available for all relevant pharmacies affected by the planned go live.

Without approval from the area team, the GP practice will be unable to obtain an ‘end point’ for EPS Release 2; an ‘end point’ is a technical switch that is required to operate EPS Release 2 and is set for each practice centrally.

The process will enable a GP practice to go-live for up to two weeks after the planned date, however if the GP practice has not used EPS Release 2 by then, its end point will be removed and the practice must re-apply for authorisation through the same process, giving at least  8-weeks’ notice of the new planned date.

The guidance in full can be accessed online at:

Information on planned deployments can be accessed online via the EPS Release 2 deployment map or via a downloadable list published in Excel; both resources are updated weekly by the HSCIC (

Weekly Emails on Planned GP go-lives

A tailored weekly email has started to be sent from the HSCIC to LPCs providing details of pharmacies in a locality that may be affected by a planned go-live. Key points to be aware of about the report:

  • The report provides information on the 20 nearest pharmacies to a GP that is live/planning to go live. Where one of these pharmacies is located in your LPC area, the pharmacy ODS is shown; blank fields indicate that an affected pharmacy is in a neighbouring LPC area.
  •  The contact details tab only provides the contact details of those pharmacies in your LPC area that are affected by an EPS go-live.
  • The date field is the planned GP go-live date from the EPS tracking database. The ‘8-week process’ only applies to GP go-live dates added to the tracking database post 1st April. Where GPs were authorised under the old governance arrangements, the new authorisation process does not apply so in some cases, there may be GPs sites listed that have not yet gone live but the planned deployment date has passed.
  • The data used to generate the reports is drawn from a number of sources including information from PSNC about which pharmacies are located in which LPC areas. If you notice errors in the data included in the report, it is important to let us know. You can also email us at to advise us of any discrepancies with these reports, and we can work with the EPS team to ensure records are updated appropriately.

Please feel free to keep us updated on the status of EPS transition planning in your area. Alternatively you can also send an email with what is happening locally.

For more information or queries on this briefing please contact Daniel Ah-Thion, EPS Officer.

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