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Electronic prescriptions for prescribers

Find out about using the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), along with information about Smartcards and advice on implementing the service.

Access the EPS 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 the Electronic Prescription Service
Nominations
Service and business continuity
Benefits estimator
 

Benefits of electronic prescriptions
 

Prescriptions are processed more efficiently
 

  • sign individual or multiple prescriptions electronically, there is no need to sign by hand
  • during face-to-face, telephone or video consultations, prescriptions can be sent to the patient's nominated pharmacy, reducing footfall in the practice as patients collect their prescription from the pharmacy instead
  • 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 the number of 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 
  • suitable patients can be moved on to electronic repeat dispensing, reducing time spent issuing and re-authorising prescriptions


Have greater control over prescriptions
 

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


Case studies

icon Case study - Dr John Hampson [750.74KB]


Using the Electronic Prescription Service

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of using the Electronic Prescription Service.

NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices and prescribing systems

The NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d) provides a standardised reference for medicines and medical devices for use by different clinical systems. 

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

Nominations

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

  • patients choose which pharmacy they wish to nominate, and this can be changed or cancelled at any time
  • patients must be fully informed about EPS before their nomination can be set on the system 
  • changes to a patient's nominated pharmacy can only be made at the patient's request
  • 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

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 prescribers and applied using the user's Smartcard and passcode.

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

Cancelling electronic prescriptions

You can cancel the whole electronic prescription or individual item(s) on the prescription at any point until it's dispensed to the patient. A reason for cancellation is requested and then a cancellation message is sent to the Electronic Prescription Service.  

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

Find out more in the  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

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 electronic prescriptions.

Local Registration Authorities (RA) assign pre-approved pharmacy roles to smartcards and assign them to the relevant pharmacy, or multiple pharmacies, by applying the relevant Pharmacy Organisation code(s). 

Smartcards are uniquely attributed to individuals and shouldn't be shared with anyone, nor should the individual divulge their unique passcode to anyone.

icon General guidance for Smartcard users [93.25KB] contains information on the following subjects: 

  • smartcard Registration Authorities (RAs)
  • smartcard roles in pharmacy
  • Care Identity Service (CIS) - the online tool for smartcard management

icon Key Smartcard activities [106.63KB] provides information on the following subjects:
 

  • upgrading from EPS Release 1 to Release 2
  • getting a smartcard
  • updating passcode/contact details
  • updating smartcard roles
  • unlocking a smartcard
  • renewing a smartcard certificate
  • cancelling a smartcard or changing site

icon Download a leaflet for new smartcard users. [734.5KB]

Find out more about Registration Authorities and Smartcards.

Temporary Access Cards

Temporary Access Cards (TACs) are temporary Smartcards to be used if your personal smartcard is lost, stolen or damaged.

We're aware of the business continuity risks associated with lost or stolen smartcards, so we've issued guidance to local Registration Authorities (RA) on issuing locked Temporary Access Cards (TACs) to pharmacies that consider themselves at risk.

If you're a lone pharmacist working without support staff, you should consider requesting a TAC from your RA.

They can be activated by the sponsor or Local Smartcard Administrator in conjunction with the pharmacist who needs the card activating.

Normal smartcard processes will apply: 

  • lost and stolen cards should be reported to your local RA team as soon as possible
  • TACs should be stored securely
  • the TAC should be returned to a locked state when the pharmacist no longer needs it

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]


New EPS benefits estimator

Use the new EPS benefits estimator to find out how your GP practice benefits from using the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS). Just enter a few basic statistics about your current use of EPS. 


Bulletins

Download the latest GP bulletin. Contact us to subscribe to our bulletins.

Have a question about the Electronic Prescription Service? Please contact enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

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