Prescription submission requirements

Published on: 21st October 2021 | Updated on: 4th November 2022

Each month contractors are required to sort their prescriptions for submission to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) as per the guidance outlined in the FP34C submission form.

Following representations made by Community Pharmacy England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have agreed to relax the end of month prescription sorting requirements by removing the need for contractors to sort FP10 forms by prescriber surname/type or by form type (FP10SS PN/SP/HP and FP10D).

Additionally, changes have also been made to the inclusion criteria for red separators with the addition of Bulk prescriptions for schools or institutions and paper FP10 or FP10MDA prescriptions issued to prisoners on release by Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMP) to the list of forms/items to be included in the red separator for exempt prescriptions for end of month submission. These changes to sorting requirements apply to prescriptions submitted for payment from November 2021 (for prescriptions dispensed in October 2021) onwards.

Pharmacy teams are able to download our Guidance on changes to prescription sorting and submission requirements factsheet.

Early advance payment submission

As of November 2021, all community pharmacy contractors can receive earlier advance payments, following agreement between Community Pharmacy England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).  Advance payments are made approximately 20 days earlier than the current payment timetable for contractors who make their monthly FP34C submissions through the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal by the 5th of the month.

The 100% advance payments (for early and current timetables) will continue to be based on the items declared on the FP34C and the latest available Average Item Value (AIV) for that pharmacy, less the value of prescription charges declared on the submission document. Contractors using MYS for submissions must include their paper Account Identifier Document and dispatch it alongside their bundle of paper prescriptions. No advance payment will be received for very late FP34C submissions and an administrative deduction of £25 may apply if a paper prescription bundle is submitted late to the NHSBSA. The final reconciliation payment date remains unchanged i.e. this will be paid on the 1st working day of the month approximately two months after contractors have submitted the appropriate FP34C form and prescriptions for pricing.

Further details for contractors are outlined in this Community Pharmacy England Briefing

Welsh contractors should refer to information on the Health Solutions Wales (HSW) website.

Prescription sorting requirements

The guidance included with the FP34C submission form on MYS outlines the sorting and submission requirements for monthly paper prescriptions submitted for payment to the NHSBSA. From November 2021 (for prescriptions dispensed in October 2021), pharmacy staff involved in end of month submission process will continue to be required to sort prescription forms into relevant exempt or paid groups (current rate and old charge rates) and use red separators for forms which include specified items before the prescription bundle is submitted for payment to the NHSBSA alongside your Account Identifier Document.

The recommended order for sorting of prescriptions is outlined below.

The image below shows the correct prescription bundle sorting requirements to follow from November 2021 (for prescriptions dispensed in October 2021)

1. Unless an automatic exemption applies, it is a condition of entitlement to exemption from prescription charges that the patient or their representative claiming exemption must make and duly complete a declaration of entitlement on the EPS token. Each month, contractors must submit tokens for electronic prescriptions (except those for age exempt patients, prescriptions where only free-of-charge (FOC) items are prescribed and where Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC) confirms an exemption). Tokens must be sorted separately from FP10 paper prescriptions and dispatched with the prescription bundle no later than the 5th of the month following that in which supply was made. Where submitted, the EPS tokens must relate to the same the dispensing month in which the associated electronic prescriptions are submitted for payment to the NHSBSA

2. See Community Pharmacy England’s Red Separator factsheet for guidance on which forms are required to be placed in the red separators

3. Contractors are no longer required to sort FP10 prescriptions by form type (FP10SS PN/SP/HP and FP10D) or by prescriber name/type

Note: There are different submission arrangements for private Controlled Drug prescription forms (FP34PCD) and Controlled Drug requisition forms (FP10CDF) (see our Controlled Drugs section for more information).

Prescription submission requirements

Contractors must:

  • Populate the FP34C claim form on the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal and submit no later than the 5th day of the following month in which the supply to secure early advance payment.
  • endorse the prescription forms as required in Clause 9 (Endorsement Requirements) of the Drug Tariff;
  • sort prescription bundle as outlined on the FP34C; and
  • dispatch your prescription bundle alongside your Account Identifier Document* to the relevant division of the NHS Business Service Authority in a secure manner that enables tracking and tracing of the delivery no later than the 5th day of the month following that in which the supply was made.

*If the Account Identifier Document is lost or misplaced, contractors can download and print another copy from MYS. 

For EPS prescriptions contractors must ensure that the Electronic Reimbursement Endorsement Messages (EREMs) include endorsement requirements as required by Clause 9, Part II, and submit the EREMs via EPS to NHS Prescription Services for receipt at the Pricing Authority no later than by the 5th of the following month in which supply was made to secure payment for the current month. Contractors should note that any EREMs sent after the 5th of the following month in which supply was made will be priced with next month’s claim. EREMs sent later than 180 days after the dispense notification was sent, will not be subject to payment.

Contractors should be mindful of the EPS five-day window when completing their FP34C declaration. The dispensing month in which an EPS prescription is submitted and counted for payment is determined by two key dates: the dispense notification (DN) date and the claim notification (CN) date. For more information see our Factsheet: Claiming for EPS prescriptions on time.

In months where one or more bank holiday occurs during the first five days of the month, contractors will be given an extra day to submit their FP34C and dispatch their prescription bundle to the NHSBSA. For more information on submission and timing of advance payments see our Community Pharmacy England Briefing 032/21: New payment arrangements for ALL contractors following end to Pharmacy Earlier Payment Scheme (PEPS).

Helpful tips for end of month submission process

Contractors must take extra care when completing their total figures of forms and items for exempt and paid electronic and paper prescriptions, and the combined totals, to ensure it is entered and declared correctly. The information contained within this section is used by NHSBSA to calculate the monthly advance payment.

  • Ensure all prescriptions are filed in the correct patient charge group – i.e. exempt, paid, old rate paid.
  • Each charge group should be secured with one or two elastic bands. Avoid using too many elastic bands (see picture).

Bad Rx bundleGood Rx bundle in box

  • Double check prescription endorsements for any:
  • Do not submit paper prescriptions with labels, sticky notes, pins, staples, paper clips attached as this can affect the scanning process.
  • Where required, endorse paper prescriptions clearly to the left-hand side margin of the prescription form. Avoid any marks or endorsements in the prescribing area of the form as this may affect pricing of a prescription.
  • Pharmacy stamp must not obscure the patient details, prescribed items or endorsements.
  • Endorse ‘ND’ against any item not dispensed and strike through the item with a horizontal line.
  • Exemption and paid declarations on paper prescriptions must be completed in full (see page on Exemptions from the prescription charge) and forms placed in the correct groups to avoid prescriptions being switched between chargeable and exempt groups.
  • Check that EPS prescriptions do not contain any supplementary product information for e.g. a particular brand or manufacturer included as part of the dosage instructions. Supplementary product information contained in the dosage area or notes section of electronic prescriptions is not read by the NHSBSA and therefore contractors will not be reimbursed for supplying in accordance with these additional instructions. If an electronic prescription annotated with additional/supplementary product information is received by a pharmacy, it is strongly recommended to have such prescriptions appropriately rewritten/re-issued by the prescriber before claiming.
  • Only prescription forms meeting the red separator criteria below must be included in the relevant red separators:


Q. What should I do if I am unable to submit my end of month claim via MYS?

A. The Drug Tariff Clause 5a Part 7 states:

‘(a) In exceptional circumstances, where the contractor through no fault of their own, is unable to submit the FP34C form through the MYS portal, contractors are advised to contact the NHSBSA either through email or by contacting the MYS helpdesk number (0300 330 1368). Contractors should note that this route is available only for emergencies, which are directly related to the contractor (for example internet outage in the contractor’s area) and not related to the MYS platform itself (in case of the MYS platform being down there will be instructions for contractors on the NHSBSA’s website on what to do);
(b) Contractors, who will be using the email route, are advised that they must apply an advanced electronic signature to the email to secure payment; and
(c) Contractors, who will be using the telephone route, are advised that the NHSBSA will contact the contractor via a preferred email address for the contractor, which the contractor has shared with them during the phone call conversation, for them to confirm that the claim the NHSBSA noted via the phone call was correct, and the contractor must apply an advanced electronic signature to the confirmation email to secure payment.’

Q. How can I ensure I get paid the earlier advance payment?

A. To receive the earlier advance payment, pharmacy contractors will need to ensure they:

  • Submit end of month bundle via MYS portal
  • Submit end of month bundle by 5th of following month
  • Use track and trace service to send bundle alongside your Account Identifier Document to NHSBSA

Q. Which tokens should I send with the prescription bundle?

A. The tokens which should be sent to the Pricing Authority are those where:

• the exemption status has been captured (other than were the patient is age exempt i.e. aged under 16 or over 59); or
• if the patient has paid a charge.

These tokens are sent for audit purposes only.
NOTE: pricing is based solely on the exemption category assigned on the electronically submitted Relase 2 message. It is important to ensure that the correct exemption status is assigned to the patient PMR ahead of sending any electronic messages for claim.

Q.How do I put EPS Release 2 Prescriptions into the red separator? What do I do with red separator items on EPS Release 2?

A. There is no virtual red separator for EPS Release 2 prescriptions. The items on paper prescriptions that are eligible to go in the red separator should be priced accordingly on electronic prescriptions. However, Community Pharmacy England does advise that as part of the pharmacy’s reconciliation process, contractors should keep a log or generate report(s) from their PMR system for the following types of items:

  • Expensive items (items with a net ingredient cost of £100 or over);
  • Specials and unlicensed products; and
  • Items with broken bulk or out of pocket expense claims.

This report or log should then be used to reconcile items/values on the pharmacy’s FP34 Schedule of Payment which is sent by the Pricing Authority after the bundle has been priced. If you are unable or unsure as to how to generate a report which incorporates the above, contact your PMR system supplier for further information.

Pharmacy teams are also reminded that EPS tokens should not be placed in the red separator in the end of month prescription bundle. This is because these tokens are not used for payment of electronic prescriptions (payment is solely based on the information contained in the electronic claim message).

Useful links

For information on red separators see our page Red Separators – end of month submission and our Guidance on the use of red separators for end of month submission factsheet.

For information on prescription exemptions see our Dispensing Factsheet: Exemptions from the prescription charge.

For guidance on sorting paper prescriptions with old charge rates that meet red separator criteria see our story Correct submission of forms and items paid at the old charge rate.

For information on the end of month submission process for completed RB items see our Prescription returns page.

For guidance on the endorsement and submission of prescriptions for expensive items and information on reconciling payments for expensive items see our Dispensing Factsheet: Expensive Items.


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