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The requirement for patients or their representatives to sign the back of NHS prescription forms or EPS tokens has been temporary suspended until June 30.

The government’s latest move follows representations made by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) to the Department of Health and Social Care (DH).

The decision serves as part of the social distancing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to avoid cross contamination by minimizing the handling of any paperwork when patients collect their prescription medicines.

The suspension, which first came into effect in November, was initially expected to end on the March 31, and is now extended for a further three months until June 30, 2021.

“Whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place, contractors are not required to submit EPS tokens, other than those used for SSP claims to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA),” the PSNC said.

The PSNC has also published updated guidance on the changes to the dispensing and end of month submission processes as well as important reminders for pharmacy staff. The guidance includes:

  • where patients would normally sign the FP10 paper prescription form or EPS token, contractors can act as the patient’s representative and sign on their behalf or may choose to leave the signature box blank
  • during this period, NHSBSA will NOT SWITCH any unsigned paper prescription forms between exempt and chargeable groups, but instead, will process prescriptions according to the group in which they are submitted in
  • to avoid any inappropriate charge deductions, pharmacy staff should ensure that FP10 paper prescriptions forms are sorted into their correct charge groups (exempt, paid or paid at old charge rate) for the end of month submission process.

“EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) are not required to be submitted to the NHSBSA whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place. See Changes to EPS token submission following the suspension of signature requirements,” the pharmacy regulator said.

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