From 1 September 2021, the temporary suspension of patient signatures was withdrawn and the need for patients to sign the reverse of NHS prescription forms or EPS tokens resumed.
From this date, the monthly submission requirement of certain EPS tokens to the NHS Business Services Authority also returned.
This means that any time a patient makes a declaration that they are entitled to free NHS prescriptions, you must ask them, or their representative, to:
- produce evidence of their eligibility (unless verified using RTEC)
- mark the reason for exemption on the FP10 form/EPS token
- read and sign the declaration on the FP10 form/EPS token
In addition, you must:
- note on your point of care system if the patient shows a valid exemption certificate, along with the expiry date of the certificate (unless already noted)
- mark the ‘evidence not seen’ section on the FP10 form/EPS token when evidence is not provided
Declarations are not required if:
- the patient is age exempt
- their exemption has been verified by RTEC
- the item has been prescribed via paper or EPS and are free of charge (for example, contraceptives)
When submitting EPS tokens for exempt prescriptions please ensure they are fully completed, including specifying the correct exemption category and indicating whether evidence was seen.
It’s important you ask patients to check the FP10 form/EPS token, before they sign the declaration, as they are responsible for making sure the information is correct and that their exemption is valid on the date that their NHS prescription is dispensed to avoid a potential penalty charge.
We’ve produced updated guidance and a communications toolkit for pharmacy teams to help you understand your legislative requirements, follow the correct procedures, and provide support to patients.
Information for patients is available on our website at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/help-nhs-prescription-costs. They can check if they’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions using the free eligibility checker at: www.nhs.uk/CheckBeforeYouTick.