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Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

Electronic Repeat Dispensing, also called eRD, is a way to make it even easier for patients to get their latest batch of a repeat prescription.

eRD versus Regular Repeat Prescriptions

Standard repeat prescriptions need to be reordered regularly. The NHS App makes this process much easier for patients as it can be done at any time, but it still requires approval at our end and time for the prescription to be processed at your chosen Pharmacy.

With electronic repeat dispensing, your Doctor or Clinical Pharmacist will send a batch of 12 months’ worth of prescriptions to your Pharmacy.

The Pharmacy will let you know when your next batch is ready to be collected. You don’t need to do anything apart from collecting your medicine. Some Pharmacies are able to send you a text message when your prescription is ready to be collected.

You don’t need to remember to reorder every month and can change which Pharmacy to collect from. You can even ask them to dispense earlier than usual if you know you will be away.

When you collect your last batch, the Pharmacy will let you know. You may likely be due to a medication review, after which a new batch of prescriptions can be issued if required.

How eRD Helps

In this video, staff and patients at Haltwhistle Health Centre in Northumberland explain the benefits to them of eRD.

When you might be switched to eRD

If you are on regular, stable dosed, recently reviewed medication, we might switch you to eRD

By stable, we mean a pill, tablet or other medication you take at regular intervals and is the same dosage every time. This makes it straightforward to know when you will need your next batch.

Here are some examples:

  • For controlled hypertension (blood pressure), you’re prescribed Lisinopril, Amlodipine, Ramipril or Losartan
  • Levothyroxine for Thyroid treatment
  • Cholesterol management medicine such as Atorvastatin, Ezetimibe,  Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin, Simvastatin

While eRD is easier for patients and saves considerable time for GP practices, you can opt not to be switched to electronic repeat dispensing if you wish.

Why we might not switch you to eRD

There are a few reasons why electronic repeat dispensing might not be appropriate for you and your treatment.

For example, if you have a condition that needs regular monitoring – such as blood samples or pressure readings – and your dose is amended based on that monitoring, then those changes in dosage would need to be re-authorised by the practice.

Or if you have medicine taken ‘as-needed’ rather than regularly. As the quantity you use varies, batches at consistent intervals wouldn’t work as you might be left without or have too much, which is potentially wasteful.

A third example would be if you had multiple prescriptions, some of which were stable dosages and others varied or required monitoring. In that situation, you may have some medicine dispensed automatically, and others still need to be reordered, which adds complications for patients.

Patients can ask to be switched to eRD, but clinical staff would have to agree that it is appropriate.

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