Curious about how electronic prescriptions work?



Have you thought about switching to an online pharmacy to have your prescription delivered, but are unsure how it works? Or maybe you’re already a digital pharmacy customer and are just curious about how the process works. Well, in this article, we will cover how your prescription can be transferred from one pharmacy to another – and in particular, to a digital pharmacy.

Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)

Most prescriptions these days are signed, sent and processed electronically. This makes transferring prescriptions between pharmacies easier than ever, thanks to Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) which has become the default method of prescription transfer between a GP surgery and nominated pharmacy (pharmacy of your choice).

EPS makes it possible for prescriptions to be sent electronically between GP surgery and pharmacy. This process is almost instant.

EPS account for the vast majority of prescriptions being processed today and has truly helped streamline NHS processing of prescriptions. There are still some non-EPS managed prescriptions that follow a different process, such as traditional ‘paper’ prescriptions and partially dispensed prescriptions. But we will cover the process for these separately in future articles.

Pharmacy nomination


When your prescription is ordered and processed via EPS it will be sent electronically to a pharmacy of your choice. This is called a nomination.

You are able to change your nominated pharmacy at any time. Just be mindful if you are on a repeat prescription to allow enough time for the change to happen. Once you nominate a pharmacy you will no longer need to collect paper prescriptions from your GP surgery.

You can use the NHS App to nominate a high street pharmacy. These are traditional brick and mortar pharmacies where you collect your prescriptions in person.

However, if you would like to have your repeat prescription delivered to you, online-only pharmacies (such as PillTime) send your prescriptions to you via courier.

It’s a very simple process to switch to an online pharmacy and can be completed quickly online.


Doctor filling out patients prescription in office closeup


Switching to an online pharmacy


To nominate an online pharmacy really is easy. Normally, you can register with the pharmacy of your choice through their website (you can find our sign-up form here). 

To sign up, you will need to complete a simple form, including your NHS number. So that the newly nominated online pharmacy is able to request and process your prescription.


Some things to be prepared for…

If the EPS prescription is not released when requested, the patient or pharmacy may need to contact the old pharmacy which holds the prescription and request the release. 

Likewise, if the EPS prescription is sent to the wrong pharmacy (though this happens very rarely). But if the GP surgery sends the prescription to the wrong pharmacy, then a request needs to be made to release the prescription from the holding pharmacy.

Should either of these rare bumps in the process occur, at PillTime we will always support our patients so they know exactly what is happening at every stage.

If you’re interested in signing up to PillTime but have any further questions, please see our Help Centre to find out more.