Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)
Two thirds of prescriptions issued in primary care are repeat prescriptions, these repeat prescriptions account for nearly 80 per cent of NHS medicine costs. Management of these prescriptions and the time involved in processing them can be significant. Nationally Electronic Repeat Dispensing could save 2.7 million hours of GP and practice time per year.
What is Electronic Repeat Dispensing?
Electronic Repeat Dispensing is a process that allows a patient to obtain repeated supplies of their medication without the need for the GP to authorise repeat prescriptions each time. Electronic Repeat Dispensing allows the prescriber to authorise and issue a ‘batch’ of repeat prescriptions electronically until the patient needs to be reviewed.
What are the Benefits of Electronic Repeat Dispensing?
- Saving time – for patients and GPs
- Less prescriptions for GPs to sign
- Reduced prescription workload for GP practices
- Allows community pharmacies to better plan workload
- Reduces medication waste.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for Electronic Repeat Dispensing?
- Stable Medication – no significant changes in the last 6 months and no anticipated long-term changes
- Stable condition – no recent unplanned hospital admissions (in the previous 6 months)
- Up to date medication monitoring – a medication review has been completed within last 6 months
- Up to date disease monitoring – attendance at clinics, appropriate blood tests performed (if necessary) and satisfactory within appropriate timescales.
Repeat prescriptions may be requested in the following ways:
By hand/post – using the forms at reception or by ticking the items on the computer sheet issued with some prescriptions.
Online – via the link on the top of this page. First-time users are required to complete a simple registration.
At your usual pharmacy – By dropping the right hand side of your prescription off and ticking the items that are needed, or telephoning the pharmacy to put in a request over the phone.
Please allow two full working days (48 hours) for repeat prescriptions to be processed that are collected from the surgery.
Please allow three full working days (72 hours) for non-repeat prescriptions to be processed and repeat prescriptions which are sent to a pharmacy.
Remember to take weekends and bank holidays into account.
Patients on repeat medication will be asked to see a doctor at least once a year to review these regular medications and notification should appear on your repeat slip. Please ensure that you book an appropriate appointment to avoid unnecessary delays to further prescriptions.
Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions
If you have ongoing repeat NHS prescriptions but are not entitled to free prescriptions, a Pre-Payment Certificate (PPC) may save you money. This is especially true if you have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months or more than 14 items in 12 months.
PPCs in England
A three-month PPC costs £29.10 and a 12-month PPC costs £104.00.
You can purchase a PPC:
- Online at https://apps.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppcwebsales
- by phoning 0300 330 1349
- from selected pharmacies – ask your pharmacist for more information
In England, NHS prescriptions are charged per item. As of April 1 2017 each item costs £8.80.
Who is exempt from NHS prescription charges in England?
Some people are exempt from paying prescription charges. To qualify for free prescriptions you must be:
16 to 18 and in full-time education
60 or over
Pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and hold a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
Have a specified medical condition and hold a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
Have a continuing physical disability which means you cannot go out without help from another person and hold a valid medical exemption certificate
Hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
An NHS inpatient
You will also be exempt from prescription charges if you or your partner (including civil partners) are named on, or are entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HG2 certificate (full help with health costs), or you receive either:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
There are also some situations in which medicines are supplied free:
Medication administered at a hospital or an NHS Walk-in Centre
Medication personally administered by a GP
Medication supplied at a hospital or PCT clinic for the treatment of a sexually transmitted infection or tuberculosis (TB)
There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website