NHSBSA guidance for pharmacy teams on patient exemption checking

Following the lifting of the temporary suspension of signatures on prescription forms and tokens on 1 September 2021, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) have issued the following guidance on exemption checking to aid pharmacy teams.

From 1 September 2021, patients, or their representatives, will again be required to sign the reverse of NHS prescription forms or tokens for prescriptions presented at the pharmacy.For pharmacy teams, any time a patient makes a declaration that they are exempt from paying for NHS prescriptions and treatment, you must:

  • ask to see evidence of their eligibility
  • ask them to sign the declaration box on the paper FP10/Token
  • specify the correct exemption category and indicate whether evidence was seen when submitting an EPS claim
  • note on your point of care system if the patient shows a valid exemption certificate, along with the expiry date of the certificate.

NHSBSA have also produced guidance and a communications toolkit to help you understand your legislative requirements, follow the correct procedure, and provide support to patients.

Patient exemption checking: a guide for pharmacy teams in England

Patient exemption checking: a communications toolkit for pharmacy teams in England

See the PSNC’s Exemptions from the prescription charge for further guidance.

Secretary of State declaration of emergency extension

The declaration of an emergency requiring the flexible provision of pharmaceutical services which was introduced to help maintain pharmacy services during the COVID-19 outbreak, has been extended to 31st January 2022. 

This means that contractors are still allowed to make temporary changes to opening hours or temporary closures where, first, adequate reasons for these changes have been provided to NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), second, NHSE&I have been given 24 hours’ notice of these changes and, third, NHSE&I has agreed these changes or has not objected to them.

After contractors have given 24 hours’ notice, and in the absence of a response from NHSE&I, they may start the flexible provision of opening hours. However, contractors must return to normal opening hours if their request is subsequently refused by NHSE&I.

Further information about the emergency regulations is available on our network resilience page.