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Electronic repeat dispensing (eRD)

What is eRD?

First introduced in 2009, Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) is a non-compulsory method of dispensing prescriptions electronically. It means that patients who regularly get the same medicine do not need to visit their GP every time they need a repeat prescription. Instead, the prescription can be sent straight to their pharmacist for dispensing.

Using eRD, GPs can issue up to 12 months’ worth of regular prescriptions, which can be stored securely on the NHS database, so they are ready at the pharmacy each time a patient needs them.

eRD was rolled out nationally in April 2019 as part of the GP contract. Within three months, nearly 700,000 patients were using the repeat dispensing process and today, over 1.2 million patients benefit from this service. It is estimated that eRD has helped manage increased pressure of the health service and saved over 90,000 hours of GP practice time - time that can be reinvested in patient care.

This video was produced in collaboration with NHS Digital. It was created primarily for pharmacies to explain the high-level process behind eRD.

Download the video transcript (Word: 249KB)

As part of the GP contract, practices in England may now transfer any clinically suitable patient onto eRD if they are already receiving, or have agreed to receive, electronic prescriptions. You can find more information on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website.

Our GP Assurance team are working in collaboration with GPs, Integrated Care Boards and Primary Care Networks to help prescribers and dispensers realise the benefits of increased eRD use.

If you need support with eRD, we can provide:

  • an NHS numbers report that provides GP practices with NHS Numbers for patients who might potentially be suitable for eRD
  • an eRD patient review report that identifies patients who will coming to the end of eRD
  • additional support and guidance for GPs on how to track and increase their eRD use

You can email to request more information about this service.

If you're a GP practice, you can find out more on how to request eRD data on our requesting eRD data page

You can view how many GP practices have requested NHS Numbers from us on our eRD reports page.

If you're a patient, find out more about eRD on our information for patients page.

If you're a pharmacy, find out more about eRD on our information for pharmacies page.