Electronic Prescription Service-EPS

What to do if the spine goes down?




HSCIC publish regular EPS Bulletins for Pharmacies & General Practices, and it would be helpful if pharmacies signed up – details at  http://systems.hscic.gov.uk/eps/contacts/signup


what is EPS –  http://systems.hscic.gov.uk/eps/library/pharmacyleaf.pdf


EPS enables prescribers – such as GPs and practice nurses – to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser of the patient’s choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and staff. Dispensing contractors can dispense electronic prescriptions as soon as they are EPS Release 2 enabled. Currently patients will not be able to have electronic prescriptions unless they have nominated a pharmacy.



Prescribers (or other authorised staff at the GP practice) will be able to cancel electronic prescriptions at any point up until they are dispensed provided the prescription is on the spine. Prescriptions can be returned to the Spine for cancellation, or retrieval by another pharmacy. Items marked as not dispensed cannot, as this “completes” the item as does claiming for the item.


Repeat Dispensing

For patients on a repeat dispensing regime, the next prescription will drop into the pharmacy system 7 days prior to the due date. The due date is calculated as the date the previously dispensed prescription within the regime was marked as dispensed plus amount of days prescribed. Hence a delay in marking a prescription as taken by the patient will delay the next issue. Claims must be made within 180 days of the dispense notification being applied.



Once marked as dispensed the prescription can be claimed electronically taking care to ensure that any endorsements and exemptions are applied to the electronic prescription before it is sent.



All dispensing tokens are now ordered on-line via PCSE. Below is a link to their ‘How to order’ page on the website.


All pharmacies should have received a letter asking them to register on the portal a few months ago, and within this letter is a unique identification number. This is required as part of the registration process. If a pharmacy has not received this letter, or has lost it, then there is guidance on the PCSE website about how to obtain this number.

Paper tokens can be printed by the practice or the pharmacy if required but can only be used to dispense from EPS by scanning the barcode (even if they have been signed by a doctor) Pharmacies usually print tokens to use in preparation of the order. For any non-age exempt patients, tokens must be signed by the patient on the back and sent by the pharmacy to the BSA along with FP10 prescriptions but sorting in order is not required.