EPS Phase 4

Roll-out of Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) Phase 4 to GP practices enables those GP practices to use electronic prescribing even for those patients that do not have nominated pharmacies. This helps the move towards patients being able to collect their prescription without having to call into the GP surgery o collect the paper prescription.

What is Phase 4?
Previously, it was only possible to issue an EPS prescription where the patient had a nominated pharmacy or another dispenser. EPS had been most advantageous for patients who received regular medication and who tended to get their prescriptions dispensed at the same pharmacy most of the time.

Under Phase 4 of EPS, prescriptions would be sent via EPS by default, whether a patient has an EPS nomination in place or not.
However, where certain criteria are met, a paper prescription would still be used, for example:
• when a patient explicitly asks their GP for a paper prescription; or
• when the medicine being prescribed is not listed in the NHS list of medicines

What happens if I don’t have a nominated Pharmacy – what can I do?

Speak to our reception team about getting a regular pharmacist set up for your regular medications. This will take a few moments to complete and means when you order, your prescription will do direct to the pharmacy – so now more trips into the surgery to collect the green piece of paper.

There will be some medications that still require a paper prescription so you may visit the pharmacy of your choice. These will now be called token(s) and may no longer be provided on the green paper you are used too.

This service has been live at Crofton and Sharlston Medical Practice from March 3rd 2020.

Should you have any issues in using this service, please contact reception and ask to speak with the repeat prescription clerk. If she is not available, please ask for help from the reception team . Thank you

We are now 6 months in from EPS Phase 4 going live on the 3rd March 2020 and it has been a great success with approximately 96% of all prescriptions being processed in this way.

This process ensures all prescriptions are securely transferred electronically to the pharmacy of your choice (via the NHS prescription spine) rather than being printed as a physical paper prescription.

 There are multiple benefits to this:-

  • it ensures prescriptions are stored and transferred safely via the prescription spine
  • it is a faster and more efficient process (as prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy immediately after being signed by the GP)
  • it prevents any delays in paper prescriptions awaiting collection by the pharmacy 
  • it allows traceability of all issued medication in case of any queries
  • it prevents the risk of any lost or misplaced prescriptions


If you already have a nominated pharmacy, prescriptions will continue to be sent there as usual (but are now sent electronically), this includes any new medication you may be issued during an appointment with a GP or nurse.

If you have not yet nominated a pharmacy, your prescription will be kept safe within the system (on the spine).

In this case you will be given a printed token to take to the pharmacy of your choice This token will allow them to identify and retrieve your prescription and dispense your medication. This token acts in exactly the same way as a printed FP10 prescription but is a safer and more efficient way of processing prescriptions.

You will also be issued with a token if you are issued new medication during an appointment with a GP or nurse and do not have a nominated pharmacy (or wish to choose a different pharmacy as a one off e.g. to obtain a new item locally rather than through an online/ delivery pharmacy)

The token is NOT a legal prescription and is simply a means for the dispensing pharmacy to retrieve the corresponding electronic prescription from the NHS Spine.

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