Electronic Prescription Service Release 2 – EPS R2

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) enables prescribers – such as GPs and practice nurses – to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and pharmacy staff.

This section of our website explains more about EPS – and how you can reap the full benefit in your pharmacy. This briefing (Apr 2018) includes tools, tips and techniques to help you get the most from EPS.

Update (29/03/21)

Following representations made by PSNC to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministers in England have agreed to extend the temporary suspension of the requirement for patients (or their representatives) to sign the back of NHS prescription forms and/or EPS tokens until 30 June 2021.

Whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place, contractors are not required to submit EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). PSNC has published updated guidance on the changes to the dispensing and end of month submission processes along with a ‘Top Tips‘ chart for pharmacy staff showing how to complete the exempt or paid declarations on paper FP10 prescription forms.

Further details on the extension can be found here.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has stated that it’s no longer necessary for contractors to submit EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place. The change to token submission affects prescriptions dispensed from December 2020 onwards.

This follows the temporary suspension of signature requirements on prescriptions forms and EPS tokens which came into effect from 1 November 2020 until 31 March 2021. The temporary suspension will be lifted once it is deemed safe for patients to resume signing of forms at which point pharmacy contractors will be required to submit relevant tokens to the NHSBSA.

The table below shows the changes to EPS token submission from December 2020 until the suspension remains in place: 

Tokens to continue to be submitted Tokens NOT required to be submitted during the suspension period only Tokens NOT required to be submitted
  1. Tokens used to claim payment for supplies made against Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs). When using ‘NCSO’ endorsed tokens to submit SSP claims, the tokens must be placed in the red separator on top of the relevant paid/exempt prescription bundle in a secure manner (for example, by securing the red separator to the main prescription bundle with an elastic band/clip to avoid any tokens and paper prescriptions from slipping out of the separator during transit) for end of month submission. The NHSBSA require any tokens with SSP claims to be placed securely in the red separator so that they are seen by an operator. If tokens with SSP claims are not placed in the red separator, these may not be processed for payment by the NHSBSA

Tokens with an exemption declaration (including where the patient is age exempt)

Tokens with a paid declaration indicating that a patient has paid for their prescription(s)

Tokens which may have a signature of collector of Schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs

  1. Tokens for age exempt patients (60 and over or under 16), where the exemption is automatically captured through the patient’s date of birth on the electronic prescription
  2. Tokens with an exemption declaration where a patients’ exemption has been verified through Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC)
  3. Tokens for contraceptive-only items

Whilst the suspension of signature requirements is in place, it is important that pharmacy teams check and confirm the patient’s current paid or exempt status and ensure the correct declaration is applied to the electronic message before it is submitted for payment to the NHSBSA.

Reminder for paper prescriptions

Ensure that any FP10 paper prescriptions forms (including those submitted using red separators) are sorted into the correct patient charge groups (exempt, paid, or paid at old charge rate), taking extra care that exempt prescriptions are NOT inadvertently submitted with the paid bundle or vice-versa.

Updated guidance on the changes to the dispensing and end of month submission processes can be found here.

EPS Guide & Top Tips

Our guide (updated June 2018) explains the latest tools to help you get the most from EPS in your pharmacy.

EPSR2 – Pharmacy Checklist and supporting documents

EPS Business Continuity – PSNC guide (Dec 2016)

EPS Update from CPGM

HSCIC Nomination Policy Information

EPS Office & Senior PMO contact details

FINAL Appendix 10 EPS R2 Nomination Patient Consent Request Form

FINAL Community Pharmacy EPS R2 Checklist January 2015

FINAL VERSION EPS R2 Issues and Concerns Process December 2014

GM LPCs EPS Issues and Concerns Record Log

GM RA Contact List December 2018

HSCIC alert form

HSCIC EPS Prescription Tracker Guidance

HSCIC Patient Information leaflet

PSNC Essential-EPSR2-checklist

Delayed EPS Prescription Process Simple flowchart

Prescription Direction Materials

EPS2 go live dates – update 12/05/2017

DR Chiu Practice (P84611) and Dr Ngan (P840005) from Central Manchester CCG both go love with EPS2 on 28th and 29th June respectively. This brings Manchester to 100% EPS2.

borchardt Medical Centre (P84010) has additional training on 21st June to enable the staff on site to use the EPS2 functionality

Useful web links to EPS2 information:

Contacts for EPS implementation and business change meeting dates:

EPS tracker guide

This EPS tracker guide is a really useful resource.

Getting a smartcard

Contact the Registration Authority with any queries or requests for smartcards:

Roy Blair, Registration Authority Area Manager for Greater Manchester – royblair@nhs.net and 0161 290 4966 / 07887210625

Community Pharmacy Smartcard roll-out in support of EPS R2 and Business Continuity Plans for out-of-hours smartcard unlocking.Out-of-hours smartcard unlocking

EPS/Common dispensing error webinars for CPD

The following business webinars can be viewed on the NPA website:

EPS – 47 mins:


Common dispensing errors – 57 mins:


Both these webinars are available for Contractors to view and do not require a User ID.

Both webinars count towards CPD.