Dispensing practices have been issued with the following advice, as NHS Digital rolls out phase four of the Electronic Prescription Service in England.
Phase 4 of EPS allows prescriptions for patients without an EPS nomination to be signed, sent and processed electronically. CCGs rolling out EPS4 advise that patients marked as dispensing will ‘override’ the EPS and can be issued with a paper prescription and dispensed for in the usual way.
Other scenarios where a paper prescription will be required include the following:
- If the prescription contains items that are not EPS compliant, such as non dm+d items and personally administered items
- If the patient has their prescriptions dispensed in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
- If, in the professional judgement of the prescriber, the welfare of the patient is likely to be in jeopardy unless a paper prescription is issued
NHS Digital states that electronic prescriptions currently account for around 70 per cent of all prescriptions issued in England (September 2019). The roll out of Phase 4 to GP practices in England started in November 2019, after a one-year pilot.
Patients wishing to use a pharmacy, who have not made 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). 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.
Dispensing practices are advised that dispensing patients remain vulnerable to aggressive marketing by online pharmacy operators. Practices are advised to familiarise themselves with DDA posters and EPS resources to support use of the dispensary by eligible patients and to ensure the best possible service is delivered by their dispensary team.