Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Electronic repeat dispensing for dispensers

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

Benefits of using electronic repeat dispensing (eRD)

Electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) is a function of EPS that gives benefits to patients, dispensers and GPs.

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. 

Find out more by watching this video:

Benefits for dispensers

The benefits of eRD for dispensers are:

  • dispensers use their clinical skills to manage eRD prescriptions, which helps to enhance their professional long-term relationship with patients and prescribers
  • 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
  • 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'.

Benefits for patients

Benefits for patients include:

  • no need to contact the surgery to reorder at regular intervals unless their condition changes
  • retain regular contact with their dispenser, who is responsible for checking that their circumstances haven't changed since the previous issue of the prescription was collected
  • patients are asked whether they require all the items on their prescription to avoid medicines being wasted
  • change nomination at any time during the duration of the eRD prescription
  • if clinically appropriate can request the next issue early or obtain more than one prescription, for example when going on holiday

Maximising electronic repeat dispensing

Last edited: 29 July 2021 10:55 am