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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

EPS in other care settings

EPS functionality is available to care settings such as extended access hubs, community, out of hours and urgent care settings. This is dependent on the care setting system supplier functionality.

How to enable EPS for your service

Confirm with your system supplier if the EPS functionality is available to your service.

Before enabling your service you must establish the prescribing cost centre you will use for EPS.

Services wishing to enable EPS should check their service falls within scope, and read the guidance on this page and ensure they understand the business process changes required before requesting enablement.

If you are developing a new integration, you must use the Electronic Prescription Service - FHIR API.

Sites using TPP SystmOne should contact TPP by emailing with the organisation ID of the SystmOne unit to request enablement.

Sites using EMIS Web can read the information about activating EPS set out on EMIS Now.

Sites using urgent care systems should see the EPS in integrated urgent care guidance.

Establishing the service cost centre

In order to use EPS, your service must have a  valid 6-digit ODS (‘prescribing cost centre’) code, for example Y12345 as used with FP10 prescribing (not those used for FP10’HP’ prescribing) 

Note: with EMIS and TPP, EPS can currently only be deployed using a single cost centre code per prescribing module/unit.  If you wish to allocate your EPS prescribing costs across multiple cost centres this must be managed locally, and/or discussed with the supplier.

Tips to establish your cost centre code:

If you are going to use a service-level spurious prescriber code, you will need to seek advice from your system supplier about how to configure this within the system, to enable your medical prescribers to use it.

EPS and nominations

We have provided some business process considerations for an organisation starting to use the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) for nominated and non-nominated (Phase 4) prescriptions.

Patients can choose to nominate a pharmacy for their electronic prescriptions to be sent to.  Nominations can be set or changed for a patient by the prescribing organisation or a dispensing organisation within the patient record, which will update the nomination on the spine.

Some Apps and patient facing online services also provide the functionality for patients to change their own nomination.

Patients who use a Dispensing Appliance Contractor (DAC) for some of their items can also have a DAC nomination.

Nominated EPS prescriptions

If the patient has a nomination in place the prescribing system will default to send their EPS prescriptions to the nominated dispensing organisation (pharmacy or DAC). The prescription will be signed using the smartcard PIN and sent to the spine, with no need for a token to be printed.

The prescription will be released from the spine when the pharmacy requests a download for their nominated prescriptions. The prescription will then be processed electronically by the pharmacy

One-off nomination (only available in some prescribing systems)

If the prescribing system allows; there may be the option to select a ‘one-off’ nomination for an individual prescription. This is a useful option for an acute or repeat prescription if the patient can’t use their usual nominated dispenser.

At the point of prescribing, there will be the option to choose a pharmacy that is listed in the Directory of Services (DOS). The opening times will be displayed.

A one-off nomination does not affect the patient’s regular nomination, but the one-off prescription would be affected if the regular nomination is changed before it is collected.

Please do not use one-off nomination when issuing an eRD prescription.

Phase 4 (Non-Nominated) EPS Prescriptions

If the patient does not have a nomination in place the prescription will be signed using the smartcard PIN and the prescription will be sent to the spine. A token will print; this should be given to the patient who can then take it to a pharmacy of their choice. The barcode on the token will be scanned by the dispensing site and the legal prescription will be released from the spine for them to process electronically.

If the patient has a nomination but does not want to use their regular nominated dispenser and the functionality for ‘one-off’ nominations is not available, the prescription can be reverted to a Phase 4 prescription.  Check your system supplier guidance for how to revert a prescription to Phase 4.

This type of prescription will not be affected by any additions or changes to a nomination. 

In scenarios where patient is not present and cannot collect the token, they can still go to a pharmacy to ask them to download and dispense the prescription.  See the Using EPS in remote consultations section. 

Using EPS in remote consultations

Guidance for EPS prescribing organisations when using remote consultations, via the phone, video link or online.

Adding messages to an EPS prescription

The ability to add messages to the dispenser and/or clinical messages for the patient’s attention is available in prescribing systems. See your supplier's guidance for how to do this in your prescribing system.

Urgent prescriptions

Depending on the situation you are dealing with and the urgency of the prescription, you may consider it necessary to contact the dispenser to alert them to this prescription, for example if the patient is not attending the pharmacy in person, it requires delivery, or if you need to check they can supply the items (e.g. Controlled Drugs).

Do not assume that adding a message to the EPS prescription will be sufficient for urgent clinical need.


There are only a few scenarios where a prescription will not be sent electronically. These include:

  • private prescriptions
  • instalment dispensed CD (FP10MDA) prescriptions
  • if the patient wishes to have their prescription dispensed in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • if, in the professional judgement of the prescriber, the welfare of the patient is likely to be in jeopardy unless a paper prescription is issued

Check your system supplier guidance for how to revert a prescription to FP10 if required.

Signing prescriptions

Prescriptions raised by prescribers will be digitally signed using their smartcard PIN and sent according to the patient’s nomination status.

Prescriptions raised by admin or a non-signing clinician will be sent to the EPS signing queue which will be accessed by the signing clinicians and signed digitally.  Check the system guidance for signing electronic prescriptions.   

Please consider-

  • Process to alert signing clinicians of urgent prescriptions in the EPS signing queue that need an immediate signature.
  • For non-nominated prescriptions, tokens will print after the prescription is signed. Consider when and where these tokens should print and refer to your system supplier guidance. 
  • How to advise the patient of their NHS number if the patient is unable to collect their EPS P4 token.  

Post-dating prescriptions

If post-dating an EPS prescription, please consider:

  • EPS prescriptions are not released to spine until post date is reached
  • prescriptions will not be visible on the EPS Tracker until it is released to the spine
  • an EPS Phase 4 token will print for non-nominated prescriptions with the intended dispense date showing in the ‘Date of issue’ box. This should be given to the patient if present or able to collect.

Electronic repeat dispensing

Electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) allows the prescriber to authorise and issue a batch of prescriptions with just one digital signature.  Learn more about more about eRD for prescribers

EPS prescription tracker

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) Prescription Tracker allows staff working at prescribing and dispensing sites to check the status of an EPS prescription.


The prescribing organisation 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. 

The success of cancellation and action to be taken to cancel depends on the status of the prescription. Feedback will be received in the prescribing system to advise whether or not the cancellation was successful.

Ensure the correct people have access rights to cancel prescriptions assigned to their smartcards, and that cancellation responses are reviewed and actioned appropriately.  Check your system supplier guidance

EPS Trackers Prescription Status Cancellation Success Message from spine to Prescriber Action required 
To Be Dispensed (Prescription on Spine) Yes Prescription has been successfully cancelled


Prescription is cancelled
With Dispenser (Prescription has been downloaded) No Cancellation Rejection – With Dispenser -Take manual means to cancel

Phone pharmacy to request they return prescription to the spine  

Prescription will then be cancelled
Dispensed (Patient has collected prescription) No Cancellation Rejection – Dispensed

If appropriate contact patient and/or pharmacy to advise of change

Prescription will not be cancelled

Claimed No Cancellation Rejection – Dispensed

If appropriate contact patient and/or pharmacy to advise of change

Prescription will not be cancelled


If you require further support or guidance, after reviewing these and your system supplier’s resources, please contact

Last edited: 17 February 2023 12:48 pm