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Electronic repeat dispensing for dispensers

If you're a dispenser, find out about electronic repeat dispensing and how you could benefit from using it.

Register for eRD webinars

Register to join an on-demand eRD webinar to find out about: 

  • the benefits of eRD
  • how eRD works 
  • how to develop a local eRD strategy
  • identifying suitable patients 
  • prescription synching 
  • electronic cancellation

The webinars are suitable for prescribers, practice managers, practice pharmacists, prescription administrative teams, community pharmacists, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Medicine Management teams.

Maximising  Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

Electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) is an integral part of EPS, which offers many extra benefits over paper repeat dispensing and dispensing of repeat prescriptions. 

How does eRD work?

eRD stores all issues of the eRD prescriptions securely on the NHS Spine and delivers them to the patient's nominated community pharmacy at the intervals set by the prescriber. The prescriber retains the ability to change or cancel the prescription at any time. 

The first issue is available on the NHS Spine as soon as it is signed and the subsequent issues are automatically downloaded to the nominated dispenser 7 days before their due date to allow time to order items which are out of stock and prepare the prescription. 

  • two thirds of prescriptions issued in primary care are repeat prescriptions. These repeat prescriptions account for nearly 80 per cent of NHS medicine costs for primary care
  • it's estimated that up to 330 million or 80 per cent of all repeat prescriptions could eventually be replaced with eRD

Benefits

The key benefits of eRD are:

  • improved stock control - the issues of an eRD prescription are downloaded 7 days before they are due, allowing time to order any items which are out of stock and to prepare the prescription in advance of the patient arriving to collect it
  • increased efficiency and more predictable workload
  • reduced time spent collecting paper prescriptions from prescribing sites
  • dispensers use their clinical skills to manage eRD prescriptions, which helps to enhance their professional long-term relationship with patients and prescribers
  • no need to retain and store paper repeatable prescriptions and batch issues
  • electronic reimbursement reduces the workload at the end of the month
  • subsequent issues of an eRD prescription are automatically cancelled when the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) is updated with notification of a death

Dispensers are mandated to ask the following questions each time an issue of the eRD prescription is dispensed:

  • have you seen any health professional (GP, nurse or hospital doctor) since your last repeat was supplied? 
  • have you recently started taking any new medicines - either on prescription or that you have bought over the counter?  
  • have you been having any problems with your medication or experiencing any side effects?
  • are there any items on your repeat prescription that you don't need this month? 

Based on the patient's answers to these questions, the dispenser will make a clinical decision to either dispense the medication or refer the patient back to their prescriber. If a patient doesn't require an item, the dispenser will mark it as 'Not Dispensed'.

More about eRD

Have a question about the Electronic Prescription Service? Please contact enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

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