EPS currently allows prescribers to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser of the patient's choice - known as their "nominated" dispenser. Electronic prescriptions currently account for around 70% of all prescriptions issued in England (September 2019).
Paper prescriptions will continue to be available in special circumstances, but almost all prescriptions will be processed electronically.
Patients without an EPS nomination will be given a token (patients may refer to this as a paper copy of their prescription) to present at a community pharmacy or Dispensing Appliance Contractor (DAC) to obtain their medication. This token will contain a unique barcode which can be scanned at any community pharmacy or DAC in England to download the prescription from the NHS Spine and retrieve the medication details.
The Phase 4 pilot indicated that the new functionality can increase the proportion of prescriptions sent electronically to above 95%. Some prescriptions items may remain unsuitable for EPS, such as those not in the dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d).