Extension of temporary suspension of signatures on prescriptions and token submission requirements

Extension of temporary suspension of signatures on prescriptions and token submission requirements

March 29, 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 or EPS tokens until 30 June 2021.

As part of the social distancing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to avoid cross contamination by minimizing the handling of any paperwork when patients collect their prescription medicines, Ministers in England agreed to temporarily suspend the need for patient signatures on NHS prescription forms. The suspension, which came into effect from 1 November 2020 was initially expected to end on the 31 March 2021 and is now extended for a further three months 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 as well as important reminders for pharmacy staff on the correct completion of exempt or paid declarations on the reverse of prescription forms and EPS tokens, it also 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.
  • EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) are NOT required to be submitted to the NHSBSA whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place. See Changes to EPS token submission following the suspension of signature requirements.

A summary of the changes can be viewed in our Top Tips Infographic.

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 as soon as it is deemed safe for patients to resume signing forms.

Additional information

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

Top Tips Infographic

Changes to EPS token submission following the suspension of signature requirements



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