What is it?

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) is a process that allows appropriate patients to obtain repeated supplies of their prescription medication without the need for the prescriber to electronically sign repeat prescriptions each month (for up to 12 months). The prescriptions are held on the NHS database so they’re ready at the pharmacy each time they are needed. This reduces calls and visits to the surgery.

Benefits:

eRD benefits for GP Practices:

  • It simplifies the repeat prescription process (including authorising prescriptions for up to 12 months with one signature)

  • It ensures prescribers set appropriate dates for medication reviews

  • It restricts oversupply and stock piling as prescriptions are available at set intervals

  • Footfall and telephone calls to the practice are reduced as requests for repeat prescriptions are not made for the duration of the eRD batch

eRD benefits for Community Pharmacies: 

  • Improved prescription processing due to automated downloads

  • Reduced waste as dispensers must ask patients if they require all items on their prescription before each issue

  • Improved stock control and subsequent reduction in prescription queries and owings

eRD benefits for Patients: 

  • Regular medicines can be prescribed for up to a year without the need to contact the surgery

  • The same prescription flexibility (i.e. the nominated pharmacy can be changed at any time and early issues e.g. for holidays are possible)

  • Prescriptions are stored securely on the NHS database and are automatically downloaded in advance at the pharmacy

(adapted from https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/eRD%20-%20Benefits.pdf)

Where to start:

  • Nominate one or two ‘eRD champions’ – to promote communication channels between GP Practice / Community Pharmacy and aid all practice staff completing training on eRD
  • Contact the pharmacies around your GP surgery to ensure they have a process for eRD patients and are prepared to see an increase in eRD prescriptions
  • Ask your Practice Pharmacist or prescribing lead to register for PrescQIPP (https://www.prescqipp.info/login/) – PrescQIPP is a subscription service paid for by the CCG that provides useful medicines information and has lots of eRD resources to help a smooth implementation
  • Ask all prescribers and practice staff to watch the eRD training webinar – this can be done as an individual or on a group basis and for different clinical systems: https://learning.necsu.nhs.uk/nhs-digital-electronic-repeat-dispensing-elearning/
  • Request your potential eRD suitable patient list from NHSBSA – please make requests to nhsbsa.epssupport@nhs.net from the generic practice nhs.net account

Handy Tips:

Start slow: switch a couple of test patients to check all prescribers understand the eRD initiation / amendment process and then ideally 4-5 patients for each pharmacy to allow any initial queries to be rectified quickly. 
    
Good Communication: Communicating regularly with patients and the pharmacies will ensure a smooth transition and reduce the likelihood of returning to the previous ordering system.

An eRD SOP has been developed for Lincolnshire which has been tested in a number of practices and is attached below.