We have detected that you are using Internet Explorer to visit this website. Internet Explorer is now being phased out by Microsoft. As a result, NHS Digital no longer supports any version of Internet Explorer for our web-based products, as it involves considerable extra effort and expense, which cannot be justified from public funds. Some features on this site will not work. You should use a modern browser such as Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. If you have difficulty installing or accessing a different browser, contact your IT support team.
Electronic Prescription Service identifiers and what they mean
Prescribing and dispensing systems send and receive Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) messages via the central NHS Spine. Prescription information is linked with a patient's NHS Number, but also various unique identifiers linking the prescription with electronic dispensing and endorsement messages. These are received by the NHS BSA for prescription reimbursement processes.
This article has been co-authored by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), who provided the summary tables for the various identifiers used by the EPS.
EPS identifiers within the Parent Prescription message created by prescribing systems
The prescription form (1) and line item (3) identifiers are generally not visible to end-users. The short prescription identifier (2) often known as the Prescription ID is the primary identifier visible to end-users and to patients when printed as a barcode on a paper prescription token, and soon it will also be on mobile apps and in emails sent to the patient.
The middle 6 characters of the Prescription ID are the ODS code of the prescribing organisation.
EPS identifiers within the Dispense Notification and Dispense Claim Information message created by dispensing systems
All the identifiers created by dispensing systems are for system usage. The one most relevant to dispensers is the Claim Supplied Line Item UUID (7). See below for more information.
EPS identifiers within the Dispense Reimbursement Claim message created by EPS and sent to the NHS BSA
The Dispense Reimbursement Claim ID (8) is created by EPS to uniquely identify the claim information message for the NHS BSA. Contrary to the information in the table provided by the PSNC below, this ID is just a standard UUID. It does not contain unstructured information.
Commonly used EPS identifiers for cross-reference purposes
The two most relevant identifiers are:
- The Form Short Identifier (2), more commonly known as the Prescription ID, that links the prescription through it’s end-to-end journey from prescriber, to dispenser, to reimbursement agency. All EPS-compliant clinical systems are required to support the searching functionality of local records by Prescription ID.
- The Claim Item Identifier (7), created by the dispensing system and made visible within the NHS BSA transparency portal. If there are any queries with the claim for a dispensed medication item then this is the identifier that is common to the claiming dispenser and the NHS BSA.
Identifiers within the HL7 messages
The following images are taken from the Message Implementation Manual (MIM) v4.2.00, available to download from the TRUD service and annotated for each identifier using the same notations as the tables above.
Parent prescription message
Sender: Prescribing systems
Prescription release response message
Receiver: Dispensing systems
Dispense notification message
Sender: Dispensing systems
Dispense claim information message
Sender: Dispensing systems
Dispense reimbursement claim message