NHS electronic prescription service

The NHS EPS allows you to send prescriptions to a pharmacy of the patient's choice. Read about the benefits, issuing paper tokens and making a nomination.

Location: England
Audience: GPs Practice managers
Updated: Friday 28 June 2024
GP practice article illustration

Phase 4 of EPS (electronic prescription service) is being rolled out now and you should be notified by your CCG ahead of your switch on.


Benefits of EPS

  • More efficient and convenient for patients and staff.
  • Reduces paper.
  • Safer, faster and more efficient.
  • Patients don't have to visit their GP for a prescription.
  • Patients won't have a paper prescription to lose.


Patients with no nominated dispenser

If a patient has no nomination, you will need to print a token to give to the patient. 

The token contains a unique barcode. You should advise patients to take it to a pharmacy or dispenser of their choice, whenever they wish.

You could also ask them to nominate a dispenser.

Other points of interest

  • Tokens do not need a signature because the prescription is signed electronically.
  • The electronic prescription will remain on the NHS Spine until dispensing staff scan the token to retrieve it and begin the dispensing process.
  • The paper ‘fallback’ token is necessary for now, although a digital token will be considered in the future.


Delayed and controlled drug prescriptions

Delayed prescriptions, eg for antibiotics, are handled in the same way as before. GPs can post-date an EPS prescription or issue an FP10.

Instalment prescribing is not supported by EPS. You should continue to use the FP10 MDA form. Other controlled drug prescriptions are managed as any other prescription.


Printing at the pharmacy

When using paper tokens, the pharmacist does not need to do any additional printing to make a prescription or to get patient signatures.

Work on real-time exemption checking will reduce the need for printing. Changes to pharmacy systems and processes are required to achieve paper-free dispensing.