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eRD information for GP practices

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, CCGs and AHSNs can also request NHS Number data

Information about how to do this is on this page.

Our GP Assurance team are working in collaboration with CCGs and AHSNs to help prescribers and dispensers realise the benefits of increased electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) use. To help increase eRD use, we can send CCGs, AHSNs and GP practices NHS Numbers of patients potentially suitable for eRD. 

If you are looking for eRD resources, including 'how to' guides and templates to contact your patients, visit the eRD resources page.

We can send you a data file which includes patients that have a minimum of 1, 2 or 3 drugs dispensed for 10+ months in the last 12 months. These patients could have received other medicines for a smaller number of months too. For example, a patient receiving atorvastatin for 12 months and amoxicillin in one month will be included in the list.

We’re only able to send NHS Numbers to email addresses. Collaboration is key to the successful implementation of eRD. Therefore, CCGs embarking on moving patients to eRD must discuss plans with their local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) prior to switching.

  1. We’ll contact GP practices to confirm whether they have an active email address.
  2. Once confirmed, we’ll send the practice an email with a password-protected ZIP file. This will contain the NHS Number and the name of item prescribed for every patient that is potentially eligible for eRD.
  3. A clinician should then review the patient records of those patients to ensure that they are appropriate for eRD.
  4. The practice should then arrange for verified patients to be moved to eRD.

We've also created a library of resources to help you increased your eRD uptake. Visit our eRD resources page to see the materials available. 

If you have any queries about this process please contact us at

The following can currently request NHS Numbers for GP practices:

  • GP practices
  • Primary Care Network clinical pharmacists who are working on behalf of GP practices
  • Medicines optimisation teams from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

Note that PCN clinical pharmacists and CCGs will only be able to request this information under the COVID-19 emergency regulations which are currently due to expire in September 2020. 

How to request NHS Numbers

All requests for NHS Numbers as part of the COVID-19 response should be made to

For NHS Numbers to be supplied, the requester must have an email address as these are encrypted and secure. email addresses are not acceptable.

  • GP Practices: We have contacted approximately 6,500 GP practices for whom we had contact details. If you work for a GP practice and would like to receive NHS Numbers for your practice, contact
  • PCNs and CCGs: Provide the practice name and practice code of each practice you are supporting and would like the NHS Numbers for. You will also need to specify which email address you would like the NHS Number data to be sent to. Remember this has to be an email address. You will receive two emails for each practice you have requested (one containing password and one containing the data).

We will validate requests to ensure they are genuine.

Each request will be reviewed to ensure that it has come from a genuine email address. If there are any concerns, we will contact the requester to discuss.

Note that this is a temporary emergency measure. Once the COVID-19 regulations have lapsed, only GP practices will be able to request NHS Numbers.

When using this data please ensure you adhere to information governance guidelines, in particular only share with individuals who are engaging in the care of these patients. Ensure the safe guardianship of the data once you are in receipt of it and to securely delete the details once they have been acted upon or are deemed inappropriate.

Please be aware that the file should be downloaded by the recipient using a desktop PC or official laptop.  If the e-mail is forwarded or it is opened via a mobile phone or tablet the data attachment may be lost.

If you need help opening the data, see our guidance document (Word: 569KB)

Explanatory notes on NHS Number data

This analysis identifies patients aged 18 years or older on stable medications that are prescribed via EPS but not already electronic repeat dispensed. It shows patients that may be suitable for eRD for the latest 12-month period.

It is possible that patients identified may receive other products on an electronic repeat dispensed basis. It is also possible that patients are not receiving the medications identified via eRD due to clinical or other reasons.

Stable medication is defined as follows: A patient has received a product in the same strength, based on the generic name of the drug (e.g. Paracetamol 500mg tablets) in 10, 11 or 12 months of the latest 12-month period.

In selecting suitable items/patients, the following have been excluded:

  • Items that are electronic repeat dispensed
  • Dispensing doctor prescription items
  • FP10MDAs prescription forms
  • Personally administered items
  • Patients receiving any Controlled Drug items during the analysis period
  • Appliance prescription items

Data has been sourced from the NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse:

  • Based on dispensed prescription items that were processed by us, not including items not dispensed, disallowed or returned back
  • Excludes items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Prescription Services by the dispenser

Patient Identification:

  • Results are limited to prescription items where the patient's NHS Number could be identified from the prescription
  • The patient age is based on the age captured from the prescription form or if this is not possible it may be calculated based on the patient's date of birth and the month for which the prescription was submitted
  • Results exclude patients whose age could not be identified
  • Patients may have received prescribing in more than one practice but their prescribing will only be shown for the practice shown above

Data definitions

Practice Code: This is the code used to identify the requesting practice.

NHS No: The NHS number of the patient who has been identified as having 1, 2 or 3 medicines prescribed for at least 10 of the previous 12 months.

Number of drugs: This is the number of drugs that have been prescribed for at least 10 of the previous 12 months. These drugs are potentially suitable to be prescribed through eRD.

Drug name 1: This is the first drug that has been prescribed for at least 10 of the previous 12 months.

Drug name 2: This is the second drug that has been prescribed for at least 10 of the previous 12 months.

Drug name 3: This is the third drug that has been prescribed for at least 10 of the previous 12 months.

Percentage of drugs: This is the percentage of a patient’s medicines that are for prescribed for 10 or more months of all medicines received by the patient during the 12 month period​​​​. ​For example:

  • Patient receives Med A for 10 months, Med B for 10 months and no other meds – the 'percentage of drugs' would say 100% (20/20*100). These patients may be considered the most straightforward to move to eRD ​​​
  • Patient receives Med A for 10 months, Med B for 10 months and Med C in 2 months – the 'percentage of drugs' column would say 91% (20/22*100)
  • Patient receives Med A for 10 months, Med B for 10 months, Med C in 2 months, Med D in 3 months and Med E in 6 months – the 'percentage of drugs' column would say 65% (20/31*100)

Total number of drugs: This is the total number of medicines for the patient that have been prescribed during the period.

Filtering the data

You can filter the spreadsheet to identify a cohort of patients that you wish to move to eRD. This will allow you to:

  • identify patients that have only received the same medications for at least 10 of the last 12 months, filter the 'Percentage of medicines' column to only show patients which are 100%. Applying this filter will provide you with a list of those patients who have only had those medications prescribed for 10 or more months and no other items for a shorter period.
  • filter 'Total number of drugs' to exclude any patients who have had more than 1, 2 or 3 drugs prescribed
  • filter 'Number of drugs' to allow you to focus on those patients that have had only 1 medicine for 10 or more months.
  • filter by drug name to help you focus on specific medicines.