• The prescription can be handwritten or computer-generated
  • The prescription can only be dispensed by a community pharmacy
  • The endorsement section of the prescription is for the pharmacist to complete
  • From April 2020, patients in England will pay £9 per prescription item, unless they are exempt
  • The following is a list of exemption criteria for prescription charges: 
    • 60 years of age or over or under 16 years of age
    • 16, 17 or 18 years old and in full-time education
    • Maternity exemption certificate – expectant mothers and those who have given birth to a stillborn child in the last 12 months
    • Medical exemption certificate
    • Prescription prepayment certificate
    • Prescription exemption certificate issued by Ministry of Defense
    • HC2 (full help) certificate
    • Income support or income related employment and support allowance 
    • Income based jobseeker’s allowance
    • Tax credit exemption certificate
    • Pension Credit guarantee credit (including partners)
    • Universal Credit and meets the criteria
    • Prescribed a free-of-charge contraceptive
    • Prescribed treatment for a sexually transmitted infection
  • In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all NHS prescription items are free of charge


NHS Primary Care Electronic Prescription Service

  • Instead of handwriting or printing a computer-generated FP10 prescription, prescribers can utilise the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)
  • EPS is a paperless system where prescribers in primary care can send an electronic prescription to a patient’s nominated pharmacy
  • EPS makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and staff 
    • EPS helps avoid the need to collect prescriptions from the GP surgery
  • There will be some patients, for whom EPS may not be suitable

Now watch this short video on how EPS works:


NHS Primary Care Repeat Prescriptions

  • For patients with stable long-term conditions, medicines can be requested without seeing the prescriber in primary care up until their clinical review date
  • Patients can also instruct their nominated pharmacy to download their repeat prescription using EPS, however, there will be some patients who are not suitable for electronic Repeat Dispensing
  • The clinical review date is set by the prescriber and should not exceed 12 months, as recommended by CQC
  • To increase safety and reduce waste, the quantity prescribed of the individual repeat prescriptions should not generally exceed a supply of 56 or 60 days, with some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) stipulating 28 or 30 days
  • For patients with asthma, COPD, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension or those taking an antiplatelet or anticoagulant, who have been prescribed a new medicine for the first time, there is a referral scheme called The New Medication Service (NMS)
    • This consists of three consultations with the community pharmacist over the first month of treatment to help and advise the patient on their medicine


Private Prescriptions

  • All legal prescription writing requirements apply to private prescriptions
  • The prescription can be written on any piece of paper
  • If a Schedule 2 or 3 controlled drug is prescribed for dispensing in the community, a special form (FP10PCD) must be used by the prescriber
  • Be familiar with your local Trust policy on private prescriptions.