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Electronic prescriptions for GP practice staff

Find out about using electronic prescriptions, along with information about Smartcards and advice on implementing the service.

Access our prescription tracker or find out more about the tracker
Live service status information
Electronic repeat dispensing for prescribers
Statistics and progress

Benefits of electronic prescriptions
Using electronic prescriptions
Service and business continuity

Benefits of electronic prescriptions

Prescriptions are processed more efficiently

  • sign individual or multiple prescriptions electronically, there is no need to sign by hand
  • moving patients to electronic repeat dispensing will reduce the issuing and re-authorising workload
  • electronic prescriptions are sent straight to a patient's nominated dispenser, reducing footfall in reception as patients won't be collecting prescriptions
  • prescriptions can also be sent straight to dispensers after telephone and video consultations
  • no need to post prescriptions, saving time and removing the risk of prescriptions getting lost in the post
  • urgent or replacement prescriptions no longer need to be faxed

Spend less time dealing with prescriptions

  • standardised prescription information reduces queries from dispensers
  • improved prescription accuracy reduces the chances of patients receiving the wrong medication
  • electronic prescriptions can't be lost, reducing the risk of duplicate prescriptions being created
  • no need to prepare and sort prescriptions ready for pharmacies to collect
  • less chance of prescriptions going to the wrong dispenser 

Have greater control over prescriptions

  • prescriptions can be cancelled at any time until they have been dispensed, replacements can be sent electronically

Case studies

icon Case study - Dr John Hampson [750.74KB]

Using electronic prescriptions

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of using electronic prescriptions.

NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices and prescribing systems

The NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d) is the standard for transferring medicine and medical device information between clinical systems. 

icon Download our dm+d factsheet [370.79KB] to find out about some of the common issues when using EPS release 2.


To use electronic prescriptions, patients choose where their prescriber will electronically send their prescriptions to. This is called nomination. 

Nominations can be set, changed or cancelled at any time.

  • patients must be fully informed about EPS before their nomination can be set on the system 
  • nomination is suitable for most patients. Patients on regular repeats and who use the same pharmacy most of the time will see the most benefit
  • patients must opt-in. Changes can't be made to a patient's nomination unless they request it

icon Read our 'Don't wait, nominate' factsheet. [453.31KB]

icon Download our nomination factsheet for more information. [439.94KB]

Generating and signing electronic prescriptions

Prescribers working in a GP practice can apply electronic signatures to prescriptions. These are unique to individual users and applied using a user's Smartcard and passcode.

Find out more in our icon generating and signing factsheet. [188.25KB]

Cancelling electronic prescriptions

You can cancel electronic prescriptions (whole prescription or individual items) at any point up until they are dispensed, but a reason for cancelling must be given. A message is then sent to the Electronic Prescription Service. 

It's the responsibility of the person cancelling to ensure the patient is informed. Dispensing contractors are notified of cancellations when they attempt to retrieve the electronic prescription. 

Find out more in our icon cancellation factsheet. [254.91KB]

Prescribing and dispensing tokens

Paper copies of electronic prescriptions will always need to be made available by the GP practice or the pharmacy, where necessary. Paper copies of electronic prescriptions are called 'tokens'. They act as a hard copy of the details contained within the electronic prescription. 

There are two types of token; prescription and dispensing.

icon Find out about prescription tokens. [371.28KB]

icon Find out about dispensing tokens.  [164.63KB]

Service and business continuity

Smartcards and access control are secure measures by which clinical and personal information is accessed by only those that have a valid reason to do so. You will need a Smartcard to use EPS.

Smartcards are uniquely attributed to individuals and shouldn't be shared with anyone, nor should unique passcodes. 

icon Download our leaflet for new Smartcard users. [734.5KB]

Find out more about Registration Authorities and Smartcards.

Business continuity

If you'd like to receive EPS incident alerts, icon please complete this form. [86KB]

To log a suspected safety incident, please read our icon clinical safety health IT related incidents guidance. [304.77KB]


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