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NHS pharmacy services explained

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)

Electronic Prescription Services logo

If you get regular prescriptions, the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) may be able to save you time by avoiding unnecessary trips to your GP.

EPS makes it possible for your prescriptions to be sent electronically to the pharmacy or dispenser of your choice.

Choosing a pharmacy or dispensing appliance contractor to process your EPS prescription is called nomination. 

This means you'll no longer have to collect a paper repeat prescription from your GP practice – instead, you can go straight to the nominated pharmacy or dispensing appliance contractor to pick up your medicines or medical appliances.

Because your pharmacist has already received your electronic prescription, they may be able to prepare your items in advance, so you just have to pick it up with no extra wait. However, this depends on the capacity of pharmacists on the day, and may not be possible all the time.

Tip

You may be able to order or cancel your repeat prescriptions online if your GP practice offers a GP online service. Check with your GP practice to find out how you can register for an account.

For more detailed information, download the EPS patient information leaflet (PDF, 52.8kb). Or watch What is EPS? on the EPS YouTube channel.

In the future, EPS will become the default option for the prescribing, dispensing and reimbursement of prescriptions in primary care in England. More information about this will be available soon.

How can I start using EPS?

You don't need a computer to use EPS – you can use it as long as both your GP surgery and the pharmacy (or other dispensing appliance contractor) offers the service.

TipUse the Services near you search to check whether a pharmacy or GP currently provides this service. Simply select "Pharmacies" or "GPs" from the dropdown menu at the top of this page, then enter a postcode and select the provider of your choice. If EPS is available, you'll see the EPS logo on the provider's profile page, alongside contact details and opening times.

TipGP practices and pharmacies may also display the EPS sign on their premises to show that they offer this service. Ask your pharmacist or GP for more advice – they'll be happy to help you.

You'll then need to nominate the place you'd like to pick up your prescription medicines or appliances from in the future.

You can choose the most convenient place for you, such as near your home, where you shop, or where you work. This is flexible and can be changed at any time – just let your doctor or pharmacy know.

You can choose one of the following:

  • a pharmacy
  • a dispensing appliance contractor (if you use one)
  • your dispensing GP practice (if you're eligible)

How can I cancel the service?

You can always change or cancel your nomination. Simply speak to your GP or pharmacist before you order your next prescription. Allow time for the update to take place to avoid your next prescription being sent to the wrong place.

Who can see my prescription?

EPS is reliable, secure and confidential. Your electronic prescription will be seen by the same people in GP practices, pharmacies, and NHS prescription payment and fraud agencies that see your paper prescription now.

They'll also be able to see whether you've nominated more than one dispenser and can check where your prescriptions will be sent to.

If you're on repeat prescriptions, dispensers will also see all of the items on your reorder slip.

What can I do if I'm unhappy with the nomination process?

All patients must be provided with sufficient information about EPS and give their consent before a nomination is recorded.

If you're unhappy with your experience of nomination, you can complain to the pharmacy, dispensing appliance contractor, or GP practice. Alternatively, you can also complain to your local clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Find out more about the NHS complaints procedure.

Page last reviewed: 21/03/2016

Next review due: 30/04/2018