Dispensing tokens (issued by dispenser)

Dispensing tokens (issued by dispenser)

EPS dispensing token 2 featured imageTokens that require printing

There are two types of dispensing tokens which require printing:

  1. Where token to be taken to another pharmacy (e.g. out of stock): Where a prescription has been sent to a patient’s nominated pharmacy but that pharmacy is unable to fulfil the order, for example because they are out of stock of an item, if the patient wishes to go to another pharmacy, the electronic prescription would have to be released back to the Spine by the nominated pharmacy and a dispensing token printed so that the patient can access the electronic prescription at another Release 2 enabled pharmacy. In the same way as with paper prescriptions, all items on the prescription would have to be returned to the spine in this scenario so that they can be accessed by another pharmacy, not just the out of stock item.
  2. ‘Paid’ patients / Exemption declaration made (other prescriptions age-exempted or real-time-exempted): This occurs when the patient is required to make an exemption declaration or declares they have paid the patient prescription charge. Patients are not required to make an exemption declaration if the patient’s date of birth is contained within the electronic prescription, or if their prescription has been real-time-exempted by the RTEC system. If the patient has been given a prescription token by the prescriber, this can be used to collect the exemption declaration (see also EPS Phase 4 tips).

Optional printing

Dispensing tokens may also be printed in other scenarios, for example if this is requested by the patient or to support the communication of supplementary clinical information to the patient. Tokens contain patient identifiable information so care should be taken in how they are disposed of.

Local NHS England and NHS Improvement teams are responsible for providing community pharmacies with Form FP10DT, free of charge, to use to print the token. This form is white in colour and is in the same style as other NHS prescriptions. As the dispensing token will not be signed by a prescriber, it is not a legal prescription and therefore Form FP10DT does not need to be stored securely. It will be important for LPCs to discuss local arrangements for the distribution of the forms with local NHS England and NHS Improvement teams to ensure that arrangements are efficient and manageable.

Sending tokens to the Pricing Authority

The dispensing token (or prescription token) should be sent to the Pricing Authority where it has been used:

  • to capture the exemption signature (other than prescription real-time exempted or exempted by age); or
  • because the patient has paid a charge.

Such tokens are sent for audit purposes only, because pricing is normally made against the electronically submitted EPS message and the exemption category applied to the electronic prescription.

See here for further information.

Disposing of tokens 

Contractors are not required to keep those tokens which do not need to be sent to the Pricing Authority. These can therefore be disposed of in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the pharmacy team’s processes.

Ordering dispensing tokens 

Primary Care Support England (PCSE) deliver various stationery for community pharmacies – including EPS dispensing tokens. Use their online portal to request tokens. If required there is an escalation procedure.

Contingencies if dispensing tokens cannot be used

Consider token contingency options.


Q. Am I required to submit EPS tokens to NHSBSA which relate only to free-of-charge (FOC) items?
The new prescription form introduced from early 2020 does not enable patients to tick a box to confirm the ‘free-of-charge’ status (e.g. contraceptives or appropriately FS-endorsed sexual health items). Patients can but are not required to tick box X or sign for any contraceptives ordered on the older version of the prescription/token form (version 0515 – which is being phased out during 2020). Accordingly, there is no longer a requirement to include any Tokens with FOC items along with other Tokens normally submitted to the NHSBSA at the end of the month. If, however, the prescription contains other items for which a charge should normally be levied, the prescription should be processed as either charge paid, or the appropriate exemption category should be selected (and where required, any
corresponding Tokens should be submitted to the NHSBSA accordingly).

Q. Can dispensing tokens be reprinted?
Yes. Dispensing tokens can be re-printed, for example if there was a problem with the printer whilst printing the initial copy. The re-print will be an exact copy of the original. Some system suppliers may: mark the print-out as a duplicate; and warn you if you print a token which has been printed at the pharmacy in the past.

Q. Will I need a specific printer for printing tokens?
Your pharmacy system supplier will be able to provide guidance on hardware requirements. As a minimum a 600dpi mono laser printer is required. This must be able to handle the size and weight of the prescription token stationery. Dual bin printers are recommended.

Other FAQs

Q. My NHS England Area Team has provided me with dispensing tokens. The form is coded FP10DT0407. I’ve noticed that Box H states ‘gets income support (IS)’ whereas the normal FP10s state ‘gets income support (IS) or income related employment and support allowance (ESA)’. How should a person claiming income related employment and support allowance’ (ESA) complete the back of the FP10DT0407 form?
A. The FP10DT0407 dispensing tokens were originally produced in 2007 and the reverse of the form was correct at that time. A new form was developed in June 2008 (FP10DT0608) to reflect changed to the exemption arrangements.

The old version of the dispensing token will remain in circulation until the forms are used up. People who are included in an award of income-related Employment and Support Allowance and who need to complete an exemption declaration on an old form should tick box H “*gets Income Support” to claim free prescriptions.

Q. My pharmacy system is configured to automatically print tokens when a legal NHS electronic prescription is received; this is regardless of whether the token is required to collect the patient’s exemption declaration or not. What should I do with the waste tokens?
A. It is possible that some pharmacy systems will be configured to automatically print tokens for all nominated prescriptions, for example, so that the token can be used to support accuracy checking following the preparation of prescribed products. Tokens contain patient identifiable information so care should be taken in how they are disposed of, for example the waste paper should be shredded within the pharmacy. If the token is handed to the patient, after dispensing, as a reference of what was prescribed, the patient should be reminded that they cannot take the token to another pharmacy to have it dispensed.

Q. Can a prescription/dispensing token be processed by a Release 1 system?
A. No. Release 1 dispensing systems will not be capable of scanning barcodes on Release 2 prescription/dispensing tokens.

Dispensing token

Related resources

EPS tokens

eps arrow green-previous eps box green- home eps box green- home dispsupp-- eps arrow green-next


Latest Dispensing and Supply news

View more Dispensing and Supply news >