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Pharmacy contractors are no longer required to submit EPS tokens other than those used in serious shortage protocols (SSP) claims whilst suspension of signature requirements remain in place, the Pharmacy Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has clarified.

The latest move follows temporary suspension of signature requirements on prescription forms and EPS tokens which came into effect from November 1 and is provisionally set to last until March 31, 2021.

“The changes will be kept under review and the suspension date may be brought forward, or extended further if there continues to be a cross-infection risk,” the pharmacy negotiator has said.

“The temporary suspension will be lifted once it is deemed safe for patients to resume signing of forms at which point pharmacy contractors will be required to submit relevant tokens to the NHSBSA, as before”.

While the suspension of signature requirements is in place, community pharmacy staff have been advised to check and confirm the patient’s current paid or exempt status and ensure the correct declaration is applied to the electronic message before it is submitted for payment to the NHS BSA.

This is because in EPS, deduction of any prescription charges by the NHSBSA is made against the declaration submitted in the electronic message and not the associated token.

PSNC has also asked community pharmacies to ensure that any FP10 paper prescriptions forms, including those submitted using red separators, are sorted into the correct patient charge groups, taking extra care that exempt prescriptions are not inadvertently submitted with the paid bundle or vice-versa.

“This step is particularly important whilst the suspension of signature requirements is active because any unsigned prescriptions marked with a reason for exemption but inadvertently filed in the paid bundle will be treated as paid by the NHSBSA and the relevant number of prescription charges will be deducted from the contractor’s account,” PSNC said.

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