Electronic Repeat Dispensing
What is an eRD?
If you or someone you care for uses the same medicines regularly, you may be able to benefit from electronic repeat dispensing. This means you won't have to re-order or collect your repeat prescriptions from your GP practice every time you need more medicine.
You simply collect your regular medication from your usual pharmacy each month without actually having to order it.
To enable electronic dispensing you need to have a nominated pharmacy and we will set this with you. Your regular medication will then be available at that pharmacy.
When your pharmacy supplies your last electronic repeat prescription, they will inform you. You will then have to contact your GP practice to ask for another set of electronic repeat prescriptions. You may need to be seen for a review before another batch of electronic repeat dispensing prescription is authorised.
Benefits of 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% 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%, 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. 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 (it's advised that PRN items are set up as a separate eRD batch as they may have a different interval to the patient's other eRD batches). The prescriber can set the specified intervals based on the patient's usage history to predict the 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.
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
- change nominated dispenser 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
How can eRD be set up?
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. You can also discuss this with you clinical pharmacist at the practice.
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 medication 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.
Collect your first electronic repeat prescription from your pharmacy.
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.
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.
Please speak to the Medicine Management Team if you have any questions about repeat dispensing.
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