Electronic Repeat Dispensing

What is it?

Many people have either one or numerous long-term conditions and require regular repeat prescriptions. If the long-term condition is stable and the medication prescribed is not likely to change in the next year. It is possible to issue a batch of prescriptions for the 12 months in an electronic form that a pharmacist can retrieve without contacting the GP surgery. This is called electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD).

How does it work?

The GP sends eRD batches of medication to the pharmacy of your choice, which has been authorised for dispensing by the pharmacist for a maximum period of 12 months. The prescriptions can be released by the pharmacist earlier than they are due in circumstances when they may be needed, such as for travel purposes or if medication has been lost.

If your medication changes during the 12 months, the GP will retract the outstanding batch from the pharmacist electronically and issue a new prescription if needed. This system means that a patient or the pharmacist will not need to order the medication from the GP until all the batches have been used up. Your pharmacist is able to confirm how many of the batch will still be available at any time and can inform patients when the batches will be due to run out. As part of the process, a token is generated and can either be given to the patient or sent directly to the nominated pharmacy of the patient’s choice where you will need to go for the total number of prescriptions that make up the batch. If you have not been given the “token”, your GP will send this directly to the pharmacist to allow them to complete the process to set up your Repeat Prescriptions.

Your responsibilities

You must alert a member of the pharmacy team if you or someone in your care:

  • Is not taking or using the medicine or appliances appropriately
  • Is suffering any side effects which may suggest they need a review of their medication
  • The medication regimen has been changed since the prescriber authorised the repeatable medication.
  • There have been any changes to the patient’s health since the prescription was authorised.

Why switch to online/electronic prescriptions?

The other ways that you can order your medication is online, using SystmOnline website or mobile app (please see our online Services leaflet for more information). You may wonder why we are promoting online use. We are aware that this does not suit everyone, but we have seen that online ordering and eRD saves time for patients, doctors and the pharmacist. It also provides a robust audit trail that can easily be followed to clear up problems rather than having to find paper scripts that can be lost.

If you would like to know more about the eRD service, click here to download a leaflet form the NHS.  

Please note that not all medications are suitable for this service, and it may not be available for controlled drugs or some high-risk medications.

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