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More practices to get access to next phase of electronic prescription service

by Rachel Carter
4 September 2020

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The fourth phase of the electronic prescription service (EPS) will be available to all practices using TPP SystmOne and EMIS from 7 September, NHS England has said.

The rollout of this next stage of the service – which allows it to be used for patients without a pharmacy nomination – has been accelerated to help practices prepare for winter.

NHS Digital figures published earlier this year (July) showed more than half (54%) of practices are already using phase 4, which requires practices to provide patients who do not have a nominated pharmacy with a token that can be scanned at any community pharmacy in England to obtain their prescriptions.  

The tokens contain the same information as an FP10 prescription, including the medications prescribed, quantity, dosage, and instructions, but do not need to be hand-signed.

According to NHS Digital, EMIS and SystmOne also now have the option to do a one-off nomination, which means a prescription can be sent directly to a specific pharmacy of the patient’s choice – if they are on holiday, for example – without this affecting their normal nomination.

For patients who don’t have a nomination and don’t want to set one up, prescribers can also use the one-off nomination function to avoid the patient having to go into their practice to collect a token, NHS Digital said.

In a bulletin, NHS England said practices should continue to encourage patients to nominate a pharmacy as this was ‘still the preferred and most efficient option, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic’.

The accelerated rollout will take place between 7 and 11 September and only applies to practices already using EPS.