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Nominating a dispenser

With the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), patients can choose to nominate a pharmacy or another dispenser to receive their electronic prescriptions. Nomination must be the patient's choice and cannot be altered without their consent.

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.

About EPS nomination

Patients can choose a pharmacy for their electronic prescriptions to be sent to. This is called a nomination.  

Some patients use a Dispensing Appliance Contractor (DAC) for some of their items, so can also set a DAC nomination.

Patients registered with a dispensing practice who are eligible to use the practice dispensary may also be able to nominate the dispensary. (This is only possible if the practice uses EPS in their dispensary).

Once a patient has nominated a dispenser, this preference will be stored (on the NHS Spine) until the patient chooses to change or remove their nomination. 

Patients who receive regular prescriptions and use the same pharmacy most of the time will see the most benefit, but nomination is suitable for almost all patients.   

Explaining nomination

GP practices and pharmacies or dispensers can talk to a patient about nomination and record their choice.  

All staff involved in prescribing or dispensing processes (including delivery drivers) should know about EPS and should be able to explain nomination to patients.  

Patients must be informed and give their consent before a nomination is recorded. The consent doesn't have to be in writing, but you do need to have an auditable process.

Recording the nomination

The patient's nomination should be recorded promptly in the Pharmacy Medication Record (PMR) system or prescribing system, and it is then updated on the NHS Spine. 

Some patients may be able to set their own pharmacy nomination via the NHS App or or other patient facing services. 

Once updated, the nomination will be visible to both the patient's GP practice and their pharmacy. The patient’s prescriptions will then be sent via EPS to their nominated pharmacy, unless they request otherwise.

Changing a nomination

Nominations should only be changed or removed at the request of the patient.  A patient can choose to change their nomination at any time.

Prescribing and dispensing staff should be aware that changes of nomination will affect future prescriptions, as well as any nominated EPS prescriptions on the spine which haven’t yet been downloaded by a pharmacy, or have previously been returned to spine by a pharmacy (i.e. with status ‘To be dispensed’ on the EPS Prescription Tracker).  This applies to acute, repeat, and repeat dispensing prescriptions. 

Post-dated prescriptions: A change to the patient’s regular nomination made after a post-dated prescription was issued (but before its effective date is reached) may not be applied to that prescription – the prescription will carry the nomination which was in place when it was signed.

Non-nominated prescriptions are not affected by nomination changes. 

The EPS Prescription Tracker can be used by GP practices and pharmacies to check the status and location of any EPS prescription - searching for a particular prescription ID,  or using the patient's NHS number.  

‘One-off’ and temporary changes

There are some occasions when a patient may not want a prescription to be sent to their usual nominated pharmacy.  For example, a weekend or evening consultation when the patient’s nominated pharmacy will be closed and they cannot wait for the pharmacy to open in order to receive their medication, or a telephone consultation when the patient is away from home.

During a face to face consultation it may be preferable to issue the prescription as a non-nominated or paper FP10 prescription which the patient can take to the pharmacy of their choice.

If the patient is not present they may ask for a prescription to be sent to a different pharmacy, options for this are set out below.  

One-off nomination (not yet available in all prescribing systems)

If one-off nomination functionality is available within your prescribing system, use this to override the patient’s regular nominated pharmacy for a single prescription.

At the point of prescribing, there will be the option to choose a one-off nomination for a community pharmacy listed in the Directory of Services (DOS), with their opening times displayed.

Only ‘bricks and mortar’ pharmacies can be selected for one-off nomination, with their opening hours and postcode as listed in DOS.  Distance selling (‘internet’) pharmacies or appliance contractors are not currently available for one-off nomination.

The one-off nomination will not affect future prescriptions; they will continue to be sent to the patient’s regular nominated pharmacy, but the one-off prescription would be affected if the regular nomination is changed before it has been downloaded by the one-off pharmacy.  For this reason, it is not recommended to use one-off nomination for electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) prescriptions.

Temporary nomination change

If one-off nomination functionality is not available within your prescribing system, and the patient wishes to make a ‘temporary’ change of nomination, it is important to advise the patient that: 

  1. The change of nomination will apply to future prescriptions and may also affect any that they have not yet collected from their pharmacy.
  2. Once they have received their medication from the ‘temporary’ pharmacy, they should ask the pharmacy to change their nomination back to their usual pharmacy. Alternatively, they can contact the practice or their usual pharmacy when they wish to re-set their nomination.

If the prescriber or practice change the nomination back, or remove it, too soon, i.e. before the intended pharmacy has downloaded the prescription - then that pharmacy will not receive the prescription in their routine download. It is much better to use a one-off nomination where possible, rather than making "temporary" nomination switches. 

Last edited: 13 February 2024 12:14 pm