Contractor reminder: Suspension of the requirement to submit EPS tokens

Contractor reminder: Suspension of the requirement to submit EPS tokens

December 30, 2020

With the end of month submission period for December 2020 approaching, contractors are reminded that it is no longer necessary to submit EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

The suspension of the requirement to submit EPS tokens 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 change to token submission requirements applies to prescriptions dispensed from December 2020 onwards and intended to last until the suspension of signature requirements is lifted. See table below for further guidance on changes to submission of EPS tokens.

EPS token submission guidance: 

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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