Proposals for electronic EPS tokens (Phase 4 / Full EPS)

Published on: 12th November 2015 | Updated on: 15th March 2022

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has proposed that during 2016/17 the EPS should start to move into phase 4 (‘Full EPS’) if appropriate prerequisites have been met and that electronic tokens will be introduced during this phase.

‘Full EPS’ is the point at which electronic rather than paper prescriptions become the default.

Under the next phase some patients may receive EPS prescriptions without nomination (although all existing nominations would remain valid and further nominations for appropriate patients should continue to be set). A patient who has not set a nomination or does not wish to do so could be issued with a token so that they may visit the pharmacy of their choice. Pharmacy teams would be able to use this token to access the EPS script. The token could be provided in the traditional paper format or a new electronic format (e.g. in an email from the GP practice, via a website or via an app).

Options being developed – how may it work?

The HSCIC are currently committed to delivering the options for tokens to be sent via email, web, and apps.

System suppliers have also been invited by HSCIC to innovate with SMS text (code shortening may need to be investigated) and pharmacy kiosk alternatives.

It’s recognised the person accessing the token will not always be the patient, e.g. a parent, carer or family member etc. Patient Facing Services (PFS) functionality would be used so that Registered Online Service Users (ROSUs) could be set-up at the practice.


The existing paper tokens will also continue to be used under the next phase.

Prescription token


The patient could be emailed a token which they print out or access on their phone. Some of the data would be pulled via PFS.

eps phase 4 token - email-



Using current PFS offerings, patient apps may be able to access prescription tokens:

eps phase 4 (full eps) token - app


Using current PFS offerings, patient accessible web portals may be able to access prescription tokens:

eps phase 4 token - web

Options being developed – how may it work?

An image of how an electronic token may be used under the proposed next phase:

Full EPS diagram (Phase 4) revised-

Related resources

For more information on the future of EPS use the buttons below:

  eps box yellow- home- eps box yellow- future eps  

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