Changes to EPS token submission following the suspension of signature requirements

Changes to EPS token submission following the suspension of signature requirements

December 7, 2020

Update – 29 March 2021

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.


PSNC has received confirmation from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that it is 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 and is provisionally set to last until 31 March 2021. The changes will be kept under review and the suspension date may be brought forward, or extended further if there continues to be a cross-infection risk. 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, as before.

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 to the NHSBSA during suspension period  Tokens (for non-payment) NOT required to be submitted to the NHSBSA during the period of suspension only Tokens (for non-payment) NOT required to be submitted to the NHSBSA
  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
  1. Tokens with an exemption declaration (including where the patient is age exempt)
  2. Tokens with a paid declaration indicating that a patient has paid for their prescription(s)
  3. Tokens which may have a signature of collector of Schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs
  4. Tokens used to capture patient exemption declarations for any urgent supplies made under the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)

 

  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. This is because in EPS, deduction of any prescription charge(s) by the NHSBSA is made against the declaration submitted in the electronic message and NOT the associated token.

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. This step is particularly important whilst the suspension of signature requirements is active because any unsigned prescriptions marked with a reason for exemption but inadvertently filed in the paid bundle will be treated as paid by the NHSBSA and the relevant number of prescription charges will be deducted from the contractor’s account.

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 prescription forms.



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