Electronic Repeat Dispensing

What is repeat dispensing?

  • Repeat dispensing allows the prescriber to authorise and issue a batch of prescriptions for up to 12 months.

The prescriptions are stored securely, electronically on the NHS Spine.

The prescription is sent electronically to the patient's nominated community pharmacy at intervals set by the prescriber. This will usually be every month or every 2 months.

  • The prescriptions will be authorised to last for a certain amount of time which will be decided by your prescriber based on your specific circumstances. The maximum time the prescriptions can be issued for is 12 months.

Why have I been changed to repeat dispensing?

We are changing patient to this system now to help the GP practice and your community pharmacy reduce the amount of time spent processing repeat prescriptions. This is important to help the NHS manage its workload during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As well as helping the GP Practice and Pharmacy there are also benefits for the patient:

  • You will not need to contact the Practice to reorder your regular medications
  • You can change nominated dispenser at any time during the duration of the eRD prescription so if your normal pharmacy needed to close you would still be able to get your medication from a different pharmacy.
  • Your pharmacy will check if there have been any changes to your health or problems with your medication each time you collect your medication to make sure any problems are spotted and you get the help you need.

How will the pharmacy know when I need my medicines?

The prescription will be sent automatically to your nominated pharmacy each month or every 2 months depending on how long your prescription will last.

You will then need to arrange to collect your medication or ask a friend, relative or neighbour to collect your medication for you.

If your pharmacy delivers your medication they should have this on their records and automatically deliver the prescription each time they receive it.

My medicines run out at different times during the month – will repeat dispensing still work?

With repeat dispensing you need to get all the medicines that you will need over the period (1 or 2 months) your prescription lasts for in one batch.

Do not worry if this means you initially get some of your medicines early as you will still use them over the next month or so.

Repeat dispensing works best when you collect all your medicines at the same time each month/every 2 months.

What happens if I don’t want some of my medicines one month?

If you stop taking any of your medicines and no longer need them, tell your pharmacy and they will return this medicine electronically so that it is not wasted and the NHS will not be charged.

If you will need the medicine later in the same month or before the rest of your medicines are due then still collect it from your pharmacy.

Repeat dispensing works best when you collect all your medicines at the same time each month/every 2 months.

Are all of my medicines being changed to repeat dispensing?

All of the medicines that you are prescribed to be taken regularly each day will be changed to repeat dispensing.

If you have other medicines that you only take occasionally you will still need to order these from the Practice as usual.

Why aren’t medicines taken occasionally being put on repeat dispensing?

It is important that we make sure medicines are not wasted. When medicines are only taken occasionally it is difficult to tell how much of this medication is needed each month.

So, to reduce waste we have taken the decision not to put this type of medicine on repeat dispensing.

There are also some medicines such as those that need close monitoring and strong pain killers which cannot be supplied in this way. Patients will only be changed to repeat dispensing if all their regular medications can be issued this way.


Are all patients being changed to repeat dispensing?

No. only patients that the prescriber has decided are safe to use repeat dispensing will be changed to this type of prescription.

Who has decided to change me to repeat dispensing?

Each patient is being reviewed individually by one of our Prescribers to decide if repeat dispensing is suitable.

How will I know when my repeat dispensing prescription will run out?

You can ask your pharmacy at any time how many more supplies you have left on your repeat dispensing prescription.

In addition the pharmacy will tell you when they dispense the last supply from your repeat dispensing prescription. You will need to make an appointment at the Practice for a review before your medicines run out. Your prescriber will then assess if repeat dispensing is still suitable for you and issue your next prescription.

I think repeat dispensing would work for me – can I request this?

Yes. You can ask the practice to see if repeat dispensing is suitable for you when you order your next repeat prescription. If it is, then we will issue your next prescription as a repeat dispensing prescription.

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