In response to COVID-19, we are supporting the wider deployment of Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) across GP practices. This builds on work that has been going on locally to  increase the utilisation of eRD across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

The information below describes the benefits of eRD as well as covering details of implementation in GP practices and pharmacies.

Training and Implementation Essentials:

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) enables patients on long-term, stable prescriptions to receive their medication at a pharmacy of their choice for up to 12 months, using the power of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS).

Benefits of eRD in response to COVID-19:

  • Reduces footfall to the GP practice and to the community pharmacy, supporting social distancing
  • Reduces workload for prescribers allowing better prioritisation of resources
  • Controlled management of the supply chain reducing the number of temporarily unavailable medicines
  • Effective eRD can save up to 46 minutes a day of GP time
  • If 80% of all repeats issued as repeat dispensing, 2.7 million GP hours could be saved

Which patients are suitable?

  • Patients on stable therapy
  • Patients with long-term conditions
  • Patients on multiple therapy e.g. hypertension, diabetes, asthma etc.
  • Patients that can appropriately self-manage seasonal conditions

Producing the prescription

  • Producing an eRD prescription is very similar to producing normal EPS prescription
  • An eRD prescription can contain up to four items
  • All the items on an eRD prescription must be in the dictionary of medicines and devices
  • It is good practice to include a message to the patient reminding them to collect their medicines every 28 days
  • Please view:

Dispensing the prescription:

  • The dispensing site must ensure that their staff are competent to provide eRD
  • The dispensing site must establish that the patient is taking or using their medication appropriately and they should ask the following questions:
    • 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?
  • The first issue of an eRD prescription is downloaded from the NHS Spine in the same way as other EPS Release 2 prescriptions.
  • After the first issue has been dispensed to the patient, the dispensing site must send a dispense notification to the NHS Spine.
  • The next issue of an eRD prescription automatically becomes available seven days before it is due.
  • After each subsequent issue has been dispensed to the patient, the dispensing site must send a dispense notification to the NHS Spine. This allows the next issue to be downloaded automatically on time.

What do patients need to know?

What do our patients think?

“Due to many problems with the buses, plus difficulties obtaining doctors appointments, I find it helpful. Plus I find it saves my GP work and while I can collect prescriptions in person at the Pharmacy, thus saving the delivery service time, effort and expense, hopefully helping the NHS, too” *

*Brooks, C. F. (Study Lead),  Matheson-Monnet, C. B., & Argyropoulos, A. Exploring the eRD experiences and views of patient’s studyCentre for Implementation Science and Innovation Insight, University of Southampton and Wessex AHSN

For further information please contact: lisa.james14@nhs.net