Regulatory changes enable EPS Phase 4

Regulatory changes enable EPS Phase 4

October 30, 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has this week published regulatory changes relating to Phase 4 of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).

The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services, Charges and Prescribing) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, which come into effect on 26th November 2018, set out the legislative framework for EPS Phase 4. This phase will allow patients to have an EPS prescription dispensed by a pharmacy which is not their nominated pharmacy by presenting an EPS token with an appropriate barcode. Prescribers will not provide patients with an EPS token as standard; these will only be required where a patient has not nominated a pharmacy or they are planning to visit a pharmacy other than their usual one (e.g. if going on holiday).

The amended regulations also have repercussions for the collection of NHS prescription charges as the electronic message (rather than the dispensing token) will become the legal document against which the charge is recovered from community pharmacies and Real-time Exemption Checking (RTEC) will be enabled.

These regulatory changes form part of PSNC’s work with DHSC to make improvements in light of the review of the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.

Following recommendations from PSNC, some other changes will be introduced in regards to breach notices, market entry applications and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Breach notices: NHS England is required to make reasonable efforts to communicate with a community pharmacy contractor with a view to establishing whether there was a ‘good cause’ for a failure to open during core hours before issuing a breach notice. NHS England may also rescind a remedial notice or breach notice at any time.

Market entry applications: The rules on making representations at oral appeal hearings of market entry applications are simplified so that it is no longer necessary for certain third parties to indicate, when they make their written representations, that they also wish to make oral representations.

GDPR: The regulations include provision for the use of relevant information by NHS service providers, including contractors, and others processing data on their behalf, including PSNC.

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