Electronic Prescription Service Release 2 – EPS R2

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) enables prescribers – such as GPs and practice nurses – to send prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and pharmacy staff.

This section of our website explains more about EPS – and how you can reap the full benefit in your pharmacy. This briefing (Apr 2018) includes tools, tips and techniques to help you get the most from EPS.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has stated that it’s no longer necessary for contractors to submit EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place. The change to token submission affects prescriptions dispensed from December 2020 onwards.

This follows the temporary suspension of signature requirements on prescriptions forms and EPS tokens which came into effect from 1 November 2020 until 31 March 2021. The temporary suspension will be lifted once it is deemed safe for patients to resume signing of forms at which point pharmacy contractors will be required to submit relevant tokens to the NHSBSA.

The table below shows the changes to EPS token submission from December 2020 until the suspension remains in place: 

Tokens to continue to be submitted Tokens NOT required to be submitted during the suspension period only Tokens NOT required to be submitted
  1. Tokens used to claim payment for supplies made against Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs). When using ‘NCSO’ endorsed tokens to submit SSP claims, the tokens must be placed in the red separator on top of the relevant paid/exempt prescription bundle in a secure manner (for example, by securing the red separator to the main prescription bundle with an elastic band/clip to avoid any tokens and paper prescriptions from slipping out of the separator during transit) for end of month submission. The NHSBSA require any tokens with SSP claims to be placed securely in the red separator so that they are seen by an operator. If tokens with SSP claims are not placed in the red separator, these may not be processed for payment by the NHSBSA
Tokens with an exemption declaration (including where the patient is age exempt) 

Tokens with a paid declaration indicating that a patient has paid for their prescription(s)

Tokens which may have a signature of collector of Schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs

  1. Tokens for age exempt patients (60 and over or under 16), where the exemption is automatically captured through the patient’s date of birth on the electronic prescription
  2. Tokens with an exemption declaration where a patients’ exemption has been verified through Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC)
  3. Tokens for contraceptive-only items

Whilst the suspension of signature requirements is in place, it is important that pharmacy teams check and confirm the patient’s current paid or exempt status and ensure the correct declaration is applied to the electronic message before it is submitted for payment to the NHSBSA.

Reminder for paper prescriptions

Ensure that any FP10 paper prescriptions forms (including those submitted using red separators) are sorted into the correct patient charge groups (exempt, paid, or paid at old charge rate), taking extra care that exempt prescriptions are NOT inadvertently submitted with the paid bundle or vice-versa.

Updated guidance on the changes to the dispensing and end of month submission processes can be found here.

EPS Guide & Top Tips

Our guide (updated June 2018) explains the latest tools to help you get the most from EPS in your pharmacy.

EPSR2 – Pharmacy Checklist and supporting documents

EPS Business Continuity – PSNC guide (Dec 2016)

EPS Update from CPGM

HSCIC Nomination Policy Information

EPS Office & Senior PMO contact details

FINAL Appendix 10 EPS R2 Nomination Patient Consent Request Form

FINAL Community Pharmacy EPS R2 Checklist January 2015

FINAL VERSION EPS R2 Issues and Concerns Process December 2014

GM LPCs EPS Issues and Concerns Record Log

GM RA Contact List December 2018

HSCIC alert form

HSCIC EPS Prescription Tracker Guidance

HSCIC Patient Information leaflet

PSNC Essential-EPSR2-checklist

Delayed EPS Prescription Process Simple flowchart

Prescription Direction Materials

EPS2 go live dates – update 12/05/2017

DR Chiu Practice (P84611) and Dr Ngan (P840005) from Central Manchester CCG both go love with EPS2 on 28th and 29th June respectively. This brings Manchester to 100% EPS2.

borchardt Medical Centre (P84010) has additional training on 21st June to enable the staff on site to use the EPS2 functionality

Useful web links to EPS2 information:

Contacts for EPS implementation and business change meeting dates:

EPS tracker guide

This EPS tracker guide is a really useful resource.

Getting a smartcard

Contact the Registration Authority with any queries or requests for smartcards:

Roy Blair, Registration Authority Area Manager for Greater Manchester – royblair@nhs.net and 0161 290 4966 / 07887210625

Community Pharmacy Smartcard roll-out in support of EPS R2 and Business Continuity Plans for out-of-hours smartcard unlocking. – Out-of-hours smartcard unlocking

EPS/Common dispensing error webinars for CPD

The following business webinars can be viewed on the NPA website:

EPS – 47 mins:


Common dispensing errors – 57 mins:


Both these webinars are available for Contractors to view and do not require a User ID.

Both webinars count towards CPD.

This section of the website explains how to register for and activate Summary Care Record (SCR) access in your pharmacy, and who to contact with queries or problems.

Registering for and going live with SCR

NHS Digital: Essential guidance and up-to-date documents

You need to visit the NHS Digital website for the most up-to-date and authoritative guidance. It has excellent, step-by-step guidance on how to register for and activate SCR in your pharmacy. It also explains how to get your smartcard authorised for SCR. The NHS Digital website is the best place to get information about SCR and links to all the key documents.

NHS Digital: Getting started with SCR from 1st April 2017

Our summary of the process

We have included a summary of the process and links to documents on this webpage but the NHS Digital website will have the most up-to-date information and documents. Download our guidance as a PDF.


  • Appoint at least one SCR Governance Person (SGP, i.e. a privacy officer) – it’s recommended you have at least two.
  • Develop SOPs for SCR use and develop/update those for related services e.g. flu vaccination and MURs. (There is a template SCR SOP here.)
  • Complete the Acceptable User Agreement. (You must do one per site.)

SCR Governance People (SGPs):

Individual users:

Getting started when you have SCR access:

  • Once SCR roles have been added to staff smartcards, go to the SCR spine portal.  Save the page in your internet favourites/bookmarks or as a desktop shortcut.
  • Then check you have access using test NHS patient numbers (not real patients) – you can get test numbers and further guidance here.


Your system must be compatible with the SCR technical requirements. If you have problems, speak to your IT support and/or pharmacy system supplier.

If you have any queries about using Summary Care Record, you can contact NHS Digital on scrpharmacy@nhs.net or 0300 303 5678.

Other useful links

Registration Authority (RA) leads

These are the Current RA Contacts for queries about smartcards (last updated 11/10/2019). Roy Blair is the North West RA contact and covers Greater Manchester. RA Contacts locations


NHS Digital




ERD Updated Guidance and Resources

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) was introduced in July 2009 as a method of dispensing prescriptions electronically. As an increasing number of areas move towards eRD, GMLPC have collated useful information and a number of resources to help contractors.

Under the repeat dispensing service pharmacy teams should:

  • dispense repeat dispensing prescriptions issued by a GP;
  • ensure that each repeat supply is required; and
  • seek to ascertain that there is no reason why the patient should be referred back to their GP.

Read more about the Electronic Repeat Dispensing service

As part of the preparations to prioritise work and help manage an increased pressure on the health service as a result of the COVID pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement are advising that practices should consider putting all suitable patients on electronic repeat dispensing as soon as possible.

The NHS BSA and NHS Digital have also published a range of resources of pharmacy teams and their patients.

NHS Digital resources

NHSBSA resources

PSNC have also produced a factsheet for pharmacy teams in relation to eRD

PSNC Briefing 004/17: eRepeat Dispensing – A factsheet for pharmacy teams (January 2017)
One side of this briefing contains key phrases to help advise patients on the benefits of eRD, whilst the other side provides a list of questions to ask patients collecting a repeat dispensing/eRD prescription.

A collection of further PSNC and other resources can be found here 


NHS Digital is recommending the use of electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) to reduce workload and improve efficiency, particularly during the busy winter months. According to NHS Digital, GPs using EPS now send 50% of prescriptions this way but only just 12% are using eRD. NHS England says 80% of repeat prescriptions could be transferred to eRD, saving 2.7m GP practice hours nationally.

Tools & resources for pharmacies using eRD: