Contractor guidance on the suspension of patient signatures on prescription forms

Contractor guidance on the suspension of patient signatures on prescription forms

November 13, 2020

PSNC has published updated guidance on the dispensing and end of month submission process following the temporary suspension of the requirement for patients (or their representatives) to sign the back of NHS prescription forms or EPS tokens.

As part of the social distancing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to assist in the management of the serious risk or potentially serious risk to human health in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Ministers in England agreed to temporarily suspend the need for patient signatures on prescription forms. This change, which came into effect from 1st November 2020 and last initially until 31st March 2021, will be kept under review with further extensions possible 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.

The PSNC guidance includes important reminders for pharmacy staff on the correct completion of exempt or paid declarations on the reverse of prescription forms and EPS tokens, and highlights the key changes to be aware of for dispensing and the end of month submission processes including:

  • Where patients would normally sign the FP10 paper prescription form or EPS token, contractors can act as the patient’s representative and sign on their behalf (recommended) or may choose to leave the signature box blank
  • During this period, NHSBSA will NOT SWITCH any unsigned paper prescription forms between exempt and chargeable groups, but instead, will process prescriptions according to the group in which they are submitted in. To avoid any inappropriate charge deductions, pharmacy staff should ensure that FP10 paper prescriptions forms are sorted into their correct charge groups (exempt, paid or paid at old charge rate) for the end of month submission process.

This guidance applies to any prescriptions dispensed and submitted for payment from November 2020 (for dispatch by the 5th December) until the suspension of signatures requirements is lifted. A summary of the changes can be viewed in our Top Tips Infographic. 

PSNC is currently in discussion with DHSC around whether it is still necessary for contractors to submit tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHSBSA whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place. PSNC will issue an update on token submission requirements as soon as confirmation from DHSC is received on this.

Related resources

PSNC Briefing 040/20: Requirement to sign prescriptions suspended: dispensing and submission guidance

Top Tips Infographic



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