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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

EPS Release 1

In Release 1, patients still receive a paper prescription in parallel with the electronic transmission of the prescription message. The paper prescription remains the legal prescription in all circumstances. Initial implementation of Release 1 began in March 2005; over 90% of pharmacy and GP sites have now deployed EPS Release 1.

Deploying EPS Release 1

In order to be able to use the Electronic Prescription Service pharmacy contractors need to have:

- An EPS compliant pharmacy system accredited as such by the HSCIC.
- Appropriate network connectivity to be able to operate the Electronic Prescription Service.
- Staff operating the service who are registered users and have been issued with smart cards and PIN numbers under NHS England's Registration Authority arrangements. (NB: During R1, it is only necessary for pharmacists to have smart cards or alternatively have a 'premises' card).

Using EPS Release 1

There are a number of reasons why pharmacies should use Release 1 of the EPS service where practical:

Through using the service, pharmacies can ensure that any remaining problems such as connectivity issues can be identified and resolved before the service becomes business critical in Release 2. If problems are identified in using the service, these must be reported to pharmacy system suppliers, ensuring the call reference number is recorded to support followup.

Using the service now will also help make the transition to Release 2 easier, for example when a Release 1 prescription is dispensed, the patient’s NHS number will be stored in the local system. This number will be required in Release 2 to set the patient’s nominated dispensing contractor so collecting it now will deliver operational benefits in the future.

The first time that a prescription is downloaded for a patient; there is a need to link the prescription to a patient record on the local system. Some pharmacies have chosen to use EPS Release 1 to support undertaking a data cleansing exercise on their local records, identifying and removing duplicates records that may exist. Once the initial link has been made, it will save time when future electronic messages or electronic prescriptions are received.

If your local GP surgery is not issuing a consistent flow of bar-coded prescriptions, it is worth getting in contact with them to let them know that you are EPS R1 enabled and capable of processing EPS R1 prescriptions.

Click on the link below to download the guidance booklet, ‘Practical advice on using EPS Release 1’ which provides more detailed guidance:  

 R1 Leaflet


Practical Advice on Using Release 1




EPS Release 2

The focus now is deployment of Release 2.

DOWNLOADS: Some documents are available in PDF format, you will require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or later for viewing which can be downloaded from the Adobe Website

DOWNLOADS: Some documents are available in ‘Microsoft Word’ format. If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can read these forms by downloading the free 'Word Viewer'. This program can be downloaded at the Microsoft website