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Using EPS in remote consultations

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

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) provides flexibility and safety in the sending and collection of prescriptions when prescribers use remote consultations when the patient is not present.


Nominations allow the patient to receive their prescriptions from a dispensary of their choice.

More information about EPS nominations

Things to consider when prescribing remotely using EPS nominations

  • If the patient has an EPS nomination in place already, the prescribing system will automatically default to send the prescription to that dispenser
  • You should check whether a patient’s nominated pharmacy is suitable for this prescription before prescribing. If not, for example if the nominated pharmacy is closed or the patient is not able to get there,  then use a "one-off’ nomination (if this is available in your prescribing system), or consider changing the nomination.
  • If the patient does not have a nomination in place, encourage them to choose a pharmacy that is convenient to them and set the nomination on their record.

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 this prescription. 

Only ‘bricks and mortar’ pharmacies can be selected for one-off nomination, with their opening hours and postcode as listed in the Directory of Services (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 pharmacy nomination is changed before it has been downloaded by the one-off pharmacy.

Changing a nomination

If one-off nomination functionality is not available, you may consider changing the patient’s regular nomination. If a 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. Or change it themselves if this functionality is available to them via their patient-facing service or app.

If the prescriber changes the nomination back or removes 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. 

EPS Phase 4 (non-nominated) prescriptions (only available in some prescribing systems)

If an EPS nomination is not a suitable option and if EPS phase 4 is enabled in your prescribing system, send the prescription as a non-nominated EPS prescription.

The prescription will be signed electronically and sent to the Spine. The prescribing system will default to print a token, which would be given to the patient if they were present, to take to a pharmacy of their choice.  

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.  

In this case it is important to:

  1. provide the patient with the Prescription ID if possible. 
  2. if this is not possible or practical, ensure the patient knows their NHS number or where they can find it (i.e. prescription repeat ordering slip, app or online services).
  3. advise the patient to give the pharmacy their Prescription ID or NHS number when they arrive.

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.

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.

Last edited: 24 November 2022 11:10 am