Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

At least two thirds of all prescriptions generated in primary care are for patients needing repeat supplies of regular medicines and since 2005, Repeat Dispensing has been an Essential Service within the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF).

Patients using the service obtain repeat supplies of NHS prescriptions without the need for their GP practice to issue a prescription each time a supply is required.

The service was designed to save GP practices and patients time and improve convenience and access to prescriptions, by allowing community pharmacy teams to take a more active role in the process of safe supply of patients’ regular prescriptions.

Under the repeat dispensing service pharmacy teams will:

  • dispense repeat dispensing prescriptions issued by a general practice;
  • ensure that each repeat supply is required; and
  • seek to ascertain that there is no reason why the patient should be referred back to their general practice.

Originally this service was carried out using paper prescriptions, but as the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) has developed, the majority of repeat dispensing is now carried out via EPS release 2 and is termed electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD). eRD is much more efficient and convenient for all involved.

Visit CPE for more info on the following:

  • How does eRD work?
  • Training and resources for pharmacy teams
  • Information on eRD for GP practices
  • Promoting eRD to patients
  • FAQs
  • Repeat Dispensing using paper prescription forms

It is recommended that you review your Processes and Training on eRD to ensure all the team are aware of their responsibilities.

  • Are you confident that every time a repeat dispensing prescription is handed out the right questions are being asked and patient is told if nearing end of batch?
  • Does everyone that hands out prescriptions know about the process?
  • How to make sure this happens e.g. notes/stickers etc.
  • What about delivery patients? Do you have a telephone conversation?
  • Do you know which of your local practices are offering eRD? Can you work together to promote eRD?
  • Don’t clear uncollected eRD off shelf without checking when they last had medication, speaking to patient and be aware when required medications on eRD may not be needed for a few weeks. Some GP surgeries initiate patients on eRD during their annual review. This may be a few weeks before the patient is due to collect their next prescription (only some GP systems allow for the first eRD in batch to be post-dated).

It is essential that staff handing out prescriptions are aware of the discussion they need to have with patients and the LPC have produced a document to support: Handing out a Repeat Dispensing Prescription Version 1.0

A reminder of the key points of eRD

Repeat Dispensing is an Essential Service and is part of NHS Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.

Payment is included in single activity fee.

Requirements of eRD:

  • Pharmacists should undertake ‘’appropriate training’’ e.g. CPPE. (See link above to CPE for training).
  • Pharmacies must ensure appropriate advice about benefits of Repeat Dispensing is given to any patient with a long term stable condition requiring regular medication.
  • Pharmacies must ask the patient/carer the 4 questions every time they dispense and tell them to contact their GP Practice when they dispense last in batch (including delivery patients/housebound).
  • Pharmacies must inform the prescriber of any clinically significant issues and maintain records.