DDA members are reminded of following BMA guidance, which clarifies the position for using the EPS in dispensing practices:
Contract variation letters for EPS and dispensing practices
We are aware that NHS England has sent out contract variation letters for the changes to the contract agreed in 2018 (ie not the 2019 contract agreement)
One element of the contract changes relates to the use of the Electronic Prescription Service (Phase 4). This service is being switched on in stages and once enabled practices are expected to use EPS as the default.
We are aware of concerns regarding dispensing practices where there are particular system issues that prevent the use of EPS (Phase 4). The wording of the regulation changes is such that if the prescriber is unable to use it, or if they have not had the service switched on, then there is no expectation to use it. The service is being switched on at a practice level and therefore this should not lead to different patients within the same practice receiving a different service.
The exact wording of the regulations for EPS underpinning the recent GP contract changes are as follows:
If, on a particular occasion when a drug, medicine or appliance is needed as mentioned in clause 14.2.2—
- (a) the prescriber is able, without delay, to order the drug, medicine or appliance by means of an electronic prescription; The dispensing doctor can not issue a EPS because they do not have the ability and furthermore
(d) the prescription is to be issued before the contractor’s EPS phase 4 date or the contractor has no such date.
DDA members receiving advice or requests to the contrary are asked to contact the office
Further information is available in the DDA’s member only library of dispensary FAQs.