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Electronic repeat dispensing for prescribers

If you're a prescriber, 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 repeat prescribing. 

  • 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
  • 410 million repeat prescriptions are generated every year - equivalent to an average of more than 375 per GP per week
  • it's estimated that up to 330 million, or 80 per cent, of all repeat prescriptions could eventually be replaced with eRD
  • this could save 2.7 million hours of GP and practice time

How does eRD work?

  • eRD allows the prescriber to authorise and issue a batch of repeatable prescriptions for up to 12 months with just one digital signature.
  • eRD stores all issues of the eRD prescriptions securely on the NHS Spine and automatically downloads them to the patient's nominated community pharmacy at intervals set by the prescriber. 
  • patients are required to give their consent for repeat dispensing.  However, this can be verbal and formal written consent is not required. 
  • eRD allows the cancellation at item or whole prescription level, which will cancel all subsequent issues on the Spine. 
  • PRN or 'When required' medication can be prescribed using eRD. The prescriber can set the specified intervals based on the predicted number of uses/doses. If the patient runs out, the subsequent issue can be downloaded in advance - based on clinical assessment by the dispenser. This may mean an extra prescription is needed to ensure the patient has enough medication to last until their next review. Some prescribing systems have a variable prescription type, which helps with this. 

What are the benefits of eRD?

eRD simplifies the repeat prescribing process and offers a range of benefits, including:  

  • just one digital signature needed
  • patients don't need to contact the surgery to reorder at regular intervals unless their condition changes
  • dispensers are mandated to ask patients if they require all items on their prescription before each issue, to avoid medicines wastage  
  • eRD puts the prescriber in control rather than allowing the patient or dispenser to continue re-ordering unnecessary items - which leads to oversupply and stockpiling. 

More about eRD

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

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