As more GP practices go live with the fourth phase of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) over the coming weeks, pharmacy teams will get a boost as the majority of hand-signed FP10s will be replaced by electronic scripts.

Under Phase 4 electronic prescriptions become the default, which means reduction of paperwork and a more Covid-safe system of dispensing for pharmacies, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

NHS Digital is supporting rollout of new phase of EPS to many more practices to support patients in getting their medicines during a busy winter season for healthcare providers.

Although Phase 4 does not require patients to nominate a pharmacy, PSNC advises pharmacy teams to encourage their patients to nominate a pharmacy as nomination is still the preferred and most efficient option.

“Around 60 per cent of GP practices already have prescribing systems which can send phase four prescriptions and NHS Digital is working to get other system suppliers live as soon as possible.

“All TPP SystmOne and EMIS Web practices that use EPS (including dispensing practices) are due to go live in September 2020,” PSNC quotes NHS digital as saying.

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 when a patient explicitly asks their GP for a paper prescription.

A patient who has not set a nomination or does not wish to do so would be issued with an EPS Phase 4 green prescription token so that they may visit the pharmacy of their choice.

Pharmacy teams would scan the bar code on the token to access the EPS script.

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