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Medicine supply issues and use of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)

Guidance for prescribers and dispensers on how to use EPS effectively to help patients when there are medicine supply issues.

SCAL notice for suppliers

Please refer to the Supplier Conformance Assessment List (SCAL) as the definitive source of supplier information and guidance for EPS development. You will receive the SCAL when you begin the EPS onboarding process.

Guidance for prescribers

The medication with the supply issue should be prescribed separately to other medication.

Non-nominated prescriptions

If your IT system supports it, send the prescription via EPS as a non-nominated prescription. The prescription will be signed electronically and sent to the NHS Spine.

Tokens - if the patient is present

The prescribing system will default to print a token. Give the token to the patient for them to take to a pharmacy of their choice.

Tokens hold the same information as an FP10, such as the medications prescribed, quantity, dosage and instructions. However, as this is not the legal prescription, you do not need to sign this by hand.

The token is used by the pharmacy to scan the barcode to retrieve the legal prescription from the NHS Spine.

Tokens - if the patient is not present

If the patient is not present and cannot collect the token, they can still go to a pharmacy and ask them to download and dispense the prescription.

In this case it is important to:

  • provide the patient with the Prescription ID - if this is not possible or practical, ensure the patient knows their NHS number or where they can find it, for example on a prescription repeat ordering slip, in the NHS App or online services
  • advise the patient to give the pharmacy their Prescription ID or NHS number when they arrive

This does not affect their usual nomination and the non-nomination will only apply to this prescription.

One-off nomination

Confirm stock availability before selecting this option.

If you know which pharmacy you want to send the prescription to, but this is different to the patient’s usual nomination, then you can send the prescription via EPS with a ‘one-off nomination’.

Apply a ‘one-off nomination’ to the alternative pharmacy who will be able to download the prescription from the NHS Spine as soon as it is available. The patient does not need a token in this instance.

This does not affect their usual nomination and the one-off nomination will only apply to this prescription.

Consult your system supplier for specific user guidance.

Guidance for dispensers

Higher volume of non-nominated prescriptions

Prescribers have been advised to use non-nominated prescriptions when there are medicine supply issues. You may receive a higher volume of non-nominated prescriptions in these instances and some patients may present without a token, following a remote consultation for example.

EPS Tracker

Ensure that pharmacy teams have access to and know how to use the EPS Tracker, or the tracker built into your Patient Medication Record (PMR) system so they can identify and retrieve returned or non-nominated EPS prescriptions. This may be useful where patients present at pharmacies other than their usual one and do not have the barcode details for scanning.

Further information

Last edited: 13 March 2024 11:18 am