Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

WMAHSN are supporting GPs and pharmacists within the Midlands region to move patients to Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD). eRD offers a range of benefits such as reduced footfall to the GP practice and to the community pharmacy, supporting social distancing during COVID-19.

Find your nearest AHSN



Two thirds of prescriptions issued in primary care currently are repeat prescriptions. These account for nearly 80% of all NHS medicines costs in primary care. Repeat prescriptions can be issued electronically or via paper prescriptions. All issues of the eRD prescriptions are stored securely on the NHS Spine and automatically downloads them to the patient's nominated community pharmacy at intervals set by the prescriber. eRD is recommended in the GP Forward View as a digital workforce solution. eRD allows the prescriber to utilise and issue a batch of repeatable prescriptions for up to 12 months with just one digital signature. 

Reduced surgery contact for prescription re-ordering purposes and reduced 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 were as repeat dispensing, 2.7 million GP hours could be saved.

Other benefits include encouraging prescribers to complete patient medication reviews and set forthcoming review dates accordingly. Long-term relationships with community pharmacy are retained and enhanced, where responsibility lies with the pharmacist to ensure patient circumstances have not changed since the previous issue. Furthermore, Community Pharmacist appreciate several benefits too. eRD improves stock control and eRD prescriptions can be downloaded 7 days in advance by the pharmacy allowing items to be ordered in advance. This improves community pharmacy efficiency and gives a more predictable workload. Medicines wastage is avoided. Pharmacy staff are mandated to check with patients if all prescription items are needed before each issue. Reduced time is spent by pharmacy staff in collecting paper prescriptions from prescribing sites. Patients benefit from not needing to remember to order their prescriptions, better clinical engagement with Community Pharmacy and delivery of medicines to their home if needed. 

WMAHSN worked collaboratively with EMAHSN to provide a regional offer to include a training webinar for healthcare professionals, a ‘troubleshooting’ email address for practical support and a FutureNHS Collaborative networking platform for eRD champions.

Impact & Outcomes

  • The training webinar had almost 1000 users register to join, with 648 from the West Midlands region,
  • The FutureNHS Collaborative networking platform within a month has secured 423 members and received over 1500 user hits.
  • Full impact on AHSN eRD dispensing figures not measurable until data is released in autumn / winter 2020. This however may change if 'live' eRD data becomes available from NHSBSA sooner than expected. Data is currently in review and revamp at a national level. In the interim; WMAHSN have worked with NHSBSA to create a bespoke eRD dataset for the West Midlands at CCG and practice level. The aim being to promote a positive behaviour change and adoption of eRD. Findings during this piece of work have helped to inform changes to the national eRD dataset which is currently in review. 
  • Full report of outcomes / impact to follow