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Electronic prescriptions for dispensing staff

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

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

Benefits of electronic prescriptions
Using electronic prescriptions
Finding prescriptions
Service and business continuity

Benefits of electronic prescriptions

Prescriptions are processed more efficiently

  • electronic prescriptions contain the patient's information, so there is less need to type this into your dispensing system
  • prescribers use a standardised drug dictionary to complete electronic prescriptions, improving prescription accuracy and reducing the risk of patients receiving the wrong medication
  • receive fewer reimbursement queries due to electronic prescription endorsement
  • reduced risk of duplicate prescriptions as electronic prescriptions can't be lost

Less paperwork

  • only signed tokens need to be sent to the NHS Business Services Authority in the month end prescription submission - there's no need to file and sort them like FP10s
  • no need to send and collect paper prescriptions to and from GP practices
  • no need to wait for paper prescriptions to arrive in the post

Better stock control

  • accessing electronic prescriptions in advance of the patient's arrival means you have time to order any out of stock items
  • electronic prescriptions can be integrated with stock control modules to further reduce administration

Improved patient satisfaction

  • electronic prescriptions allow you to order and prepare prescriptions in advance, reducing waiting times for patients and ensuring stock is available
  • notes can be added to electronic prescriptions, allowing messages from prescribers to be passed to patients

Case studies

iconCase study - Rohpharm Pharmacy [273.21Kb]
iconCase study - Living Care Pharmacy [390.01Kb]

Using electronic prescriptions

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


To use electronic prescriptions, patients choose where their prescriber will electronically send their prescriptions. 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

iconRead our 'Don't wait, nominate' factsheet. [453.31Kb]

iconDownload our nominations factsheet for more information. [439.94Kb]

Finding prescriptions

If you can't find an electronic prescription, there are 2 things you can do:

  1. Do a routine prescription download.
  2. Use the prescription tracker and search by NHS number. 

iconFind out more about finding prescriptions. [302.47Kb]

Electronic repeat dispensing for dispensers

Electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) is an integral part of EPS, which offers many extra benefits over paper repeat dispensing and dispensing of repeat prescriptions.

If you're a dispenser, find out about electronic repeat dispensing and how you could benefit from using it.

Endorsement and claim messages

You can manage your submissions of reimbursement endorsements electronically. In the same way as now, specific endorsements will still be required, such as endorsements claiming broken bulk, out of pocket expenses or the 'No Cheaper Stock Obtainable' (NCSO) concession.
These must be selected and submitted electronically using the specific codes provided, with any supporting information. 

You can send electronic claim messages as you go throughout the month, but no later than 180 days after the dispense notification.

Find out about NHS Business Service Authority's guidance for endorsements.


Read our iconelectronic reimbursement factsheet [539.54Kb] to find out more about how to send an electronic claim when you have dispensed a prescription and want to claim reimbursement.

Submitting monthly reimbursements

Dispensers will be able to manage the submission of reimbursement endorsements electronically for electronic prescriptions, rather than sorting and posting them at the end of each month. This will reduce the volume of paper to be sorted and posted at the end of the month.

Find out about NHS Business Service Authority's guidance for endorsements.

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.

Find out about iconprescription tokens. [371.28Kb]

Find out about  icondispensing 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 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. 

iconGeneral guidance for Smartcard users [93.25Kb] contains information on the following subjects:

  • Smartcard Registration Authorities (RA's)
  • Smartcard roles in pharmacy
  • Care Identity Service (CIS) - the online tool for Smartcard management

iconKey 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

iconDownload 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, iconplease complete this form. [86Kb]

To log a suspected safety incident, please read our iconclinical safety health IT related incidents guidance. [304.77Kb]


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