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Electronic repeat dispensing


  • All five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the Oxford AHSN region are working with GP practices and community pharmacists to increase the update of electronic repeat dispensing (eRD)
  • Educational webinars have been delivered to CCG medicines optimisation teams, GP practice staff, primary care network (PCN) pharmacists and community pharmacists
  • Since May 2020 there has been an increase in eRD uptake across all CCGs ranging from 2-4%
  • Since May 2020 there has been an increase in electronic prescription service (ePS) uptake across all CCGs ranging from 11-26%

Guidance issued by NHS England/Improvement in March 2020 asks primary care to consider putting all suitable patients on electronic repeat dispensing (‘eRD’) for when their next repeat prescriptions are due.

As part of its response to COVID-19, the Oxford AHSN is sharing resources produced by the Wessex AHSN to support the wider deployment of eRD across GP practices in our region – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes.

The full range of resources can be found on the Wessex AHSN website.

A summary of the key points is provided below.

Training and implementation essentials

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

  • Reduced footfall to GP practices and community pharmacies, supporting social distancing
  • Reduced workload for prescribers allowing better prioritisation of resources
  • Controlled management of the supply chain reducing the number of temporarily unavailable medicines
  • Improved efficiency – effective eRD can save up to 46 minutes a day of GP time; if 80% of all repeats were managed through eRD 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 who can appropriately self-manage seasonal conditions

To help support the response to Covid-19, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has introduced a new streamlined service for GP practices to receive NHS numbers for patients who may be eligible for eRD. The NHSBSA will only be able to send NHS numbers to ‘’ email addresses.

Collaboration is key to the successful implementation of eRD – Clinical Commissioning Groups must discuss plans with their local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) prior to switching patients to eRD. The process is outlined below:
The NHSBSA will contact GP practices to confirm whether they have an active ‘’ email address
Once confirmed, the NHSBSA will send the practice an email with a password-protected Zip file. This will contain the NHS Number and the name of the item prescribed for every patient that is potentially eligible for eRD
A clinician will review the patient records of those patients to ensure they are appropriate for eRD
The practice will arrange for verified patients to move to eRD.

What do patients need to know?