Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)

Changes to EPS from 2017

Patients won’t need to nominate a pharmacy to collect their electronic prescription from March 2017.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have announced changes to EPS.

Key changes

  • Prescriber gives patient a barcoded “token” - similar to EPS Release 1.
  • Most in paper format – 90% predicted after change.
  • Option to receive electronic version via proposed ‘secure online services’ including email.
  • Paper prescriptions available in “special circumstances” like “constraints on the prescribed drug”
  • Barcode can be scanned at any EPS enabled pharmacy.
  • Nomination still an option due to benefits, including repeat dispensing.

This should help:

  • Prevent problems where prescriptions are downloaded by another pharmacy, through incorrect nomination choice.
  • Improve patient experience – no tangible prescription document has led to culture shock.

Support for changes

  • Refresher training on how to get the most out of EPS.
  • Full review of EPS by HSCIC.
  • Creation of business continuity plans to reduce impact of system outages.


What are the benefits of EPS Release 2?

  • EPS reduces work load associated with re-keying prescription information.
  • Electronic prescriptions are received before a patient arrives in your pharmacy, allowing you to streamline workflow by preparing prescriptions in advance.
  • Helps with stock management.
  • Pharmacies offering a Repeat Prescription service will no longer have to physically collect prescriptions for patients who have nominated them.

Need help registering patient nominations?

Order EPS nomination forms

Background of EPS

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) for England has been a talking point for a number of years.

As a result of the sheer size of the programme and number of stakeholders involved the pace of development has appeared to be slow at best.

However, pharmacy system suppliers have been working to drive the programme forward providing a valuable insight in to work flow and processes that are in some cases unique to pharmacy.

A free video, which explains the Electronic Prescription Service to patients, has been published on YouTube. The 90 second video is ideal for showing in waiting rooms, pharmacies and websites.

View EPS explanation for patients video

EPS Release 1

Rollout of EPS Release 1 started in 2007 and is currently used by 90% of community pharmacies in England. It was designed to put the foundations of the electronic prescription service in place and to ensure compatibility between the computer systems used by GPs and pharmacies.

EPS Release 1 uses N3 broadband technology to send electronic prescription messages from GPs to pharmacies. The prescription details are downloaded in the pharmacy by scanning a barcode printed on FP10 prescription forms.

1.5 million prescriptions are issued across England every day and with this total expected to rise by 5% every year steps are required to improve the efficiency of the system.

EPS Release 2

EPS Release 2 is the second phase of the electronic prescription service and has been designed to improve the efficiency of the prescribing and dispensing process.

A key part of Release 2 is that patients can 'nominate' the pharmacy they want to receive their prescriptions. A patients prescription will then be sent automatically from their GP to their nominated pharmacy to be fulfilled.

Registering patient nominations is crucial to ensure you retain your existing patients for the future.

EPS action plan

Four key principles for nomination

Watch: EPS nomination guidance

Watch: EPS nomination: Engaging with patients

Watch: Handling questions about EPS nomination