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Explaining electronic repeat dispensing to patients

Find out how to explain electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) to patients. This information can be used in letters, leaflets and your own websites.

If you or someone you care for uses the same medicines regularly, you may be able to benefit from electronic repeat prescriptions. This means you won't have to re-order or collect your repeat prescriptions from your GP practice every time you need more medicine.

Step 1

Talk to your GP or the person who prescribes your medicines and ask them if you can use electronic repeat prescriptions. Your prescriber will usually be your doctor or practice nurse.

If your prescriber thinks that you could use electronic repeat prescriptions for your regular medicines, they will ask you for permission to share information about your treatment with your pharmacist. This will help your pharmacist to give your prescriber feedback about your treatment and provide you with useful advice.

Your GP or prescriber will then authorise a number of electronic repeat prescriptions. This will be based on your circumstances and clinical need. These electronic repeat prescriptions will then be supplied to you by your pharmacy at regular intervals.

Step 2

Collect your first electronic repeat prescription from your pharmacy.

Step 3

When you need more medicines, go back to your pharmacy. Before dispensing the next issue of your prescription, your pharmacy will ask:

  • have you seen any health professionals (GP, nurse or hospital doctor), since your last repeat prescription 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?

If you don't need all of the medicines on your prescription, let the pharmacy staff know, so that they only supply the medicines you need. This will help to reduce waste and save the NHS money.

Step 4

When your pharmacy supplies your final electronic repeat prescription in the series that your GP has authorised, they will advise you to contact your GP practice. Your doctor or practice nurse may want to see you to review your medication before they will authorise more electronic repeat prescriptions.

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

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