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Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) enables GPs to authorise up to a year’s worth of repeat medication for patients whose repeat medicines are relatively stable.  Community pharmacists can then carry out a number of checks and dispense the medicines at regular intervals, usually monthly.

77% of all prescription items are repeat prescriptions.  On average, each week, a GP issues around 375 repeat medicines.  eRD, where deployed successfully, can free up significant GP capacity (up to 45 minutes of GP time per day, per practice) and enable community pharmacy to manage the medicines supply chain.

eRD is not new, it has been part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework since 2005 and from 2019 has been a GMS contract requirement. However, uptake is hugely variable with many practices having never taken advantage of this technology. The highest performing practices issue 60-70% of their prescription items in this way.

The system-wide benefits of eRD are:

  • A simplified, secure, reliable service for GP practices, pharmacies and patients.
  • Reduces workload for prescribers allowing better prioritisation of resources.
  • Supports social distancing by reducing footfall to the GP practice to order repeat prescriptions.
  • Controlled management of the supply chain, reducing the number of temporarily unavailable medicines.
  • Improves the data captured from prescriptions, to enable better reporting and improved medicines optimisation.

How?

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care systems were encouraged to increase rates of eRD to reduce the amount of patients visiting the GP for repeat prescriptions. To support our colleagues, the West of England AHSN worked in partnership with South West AHSN to deliver the following webinars:

Webinar one (25 June 2020): The benefits of eRD based on experience from GP and CCG colleagues:

View slides here: SW and West of England AHSN eRD Webinar part 1

Webinar two (2 July 2020)using eRD to drive effective care planning:

View slides here: SW and West of England AHSN eRD Webinar part 2

Webinar three (8 July 2020): eRD, system collaboration and eRD care homes:

View slides here: SW and West of England AHSN eRD Webinar part 3

Our fourth webinar  (The benefits of eRD based on experience from GP and CCG colleagues) was a repeat of the topics covered in the first webinar.

Webinar five: (23 July 2020):  eRD and community pharmacy. Please see the slides here: WM, SW and West of England AHSN eRD Webinar part 5- SLIDES

Regional workforce programme

Building on our experience of supporting Primary Care colleagues increase rates of eRD in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the West of England AHSN is now working in partnership with South West, Wessex, Oxford, Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) AHSNs as well as the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) to contribute to NHS England’s Regional Workforce Programme.

Our aim is to further increase eRD rates in a drive to support our GP practice colleagues work more effectively and release time spent managing repeat prescriptions. The collaboration of AHSNs will be using data provided by the NHS BSA ePACT2 system to target offers of support to practices where there may be opportunities to increase rates of eRD.

We will also be developing a series of additional resources to compliment those already detailed below:

Resources

Video resources

 Resources for Promoting eRD to Patients

 Resources for GP Practices

Resources for Community Pharmacies