Overcoming barriers to increasing Electronic Repeat Dispensing

On 1st March Aelfgar Surgery in Rugeley hosted a number of local pharmacies for a Business Change meeting aimed at increasing the uptake of Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) locally. Your LPC was also represented along with staff from NHS Digital and Midlands & Lancashire CSU who have been running a project on behalf of CCGs locally to increase eRD; at that meeting we identified potential solutions in overcoming some of the challenges highlighted by the practice.

  • Main issue identified by practice was in identifying and cancelling batches, especially when patients had been issued with multiple repeat batches. CSU advised that practices can use the Business Continuity mode on the NHS Tracker to check what’s on each batch to facilitate easier cancelling. Also confirmed that a new a flag is available on EMIS to show any patient who has a eRD batch live – this was to be enabled for local practices.
  • Issues also identified about pharmacies not being able to find batches in-pharmacy? Pharmacies should always use the Tracker online to identify where repeat batches are, prior to making a call to the practice.
  • Some pharmacy systems reported as not printing eRD scripts immediately on download, whereas normal EPS scripts are? Advice from NHS Digital is to check on local settings to enable this to happen (and therefore reduce time in finding batch repeats) – contact system supplier helpdesk if necessary.
  • Medicine changes causing problems, some patients have been issued with old batches in addition to new medicines – pharmacies advised to consider how they can minimise the chance of this happening by reviewing procedures at hand-out of items
  • Other key points for pharmacy contractors
    • Use PMR system resources to issue reminders to patients when the last repeat is being dispensed
    • Use of “Instalment cards” or similar advised so that patients can keep track of their supplies, and reinforce the message that they don’t order a new repeat prescription from the surgery, but simply return to the pharmacy (example in pharmacy support pack available on EPS page of this website)
    • Pharmacy support pack and FAQs are available on the EPS seciton of this website; additional resources are available on the NHS Digital and PSNC websites too.

One final reminder – pharmacies MUST check with the patient or their representative before EVERY supply of a repeatable prescription:

  • have you seen any health professional (GP, nurse or hospital doctor) since your last repeat was supplied? 
  • have you recently started taking any new medicines – either on prescription or that you have bought over the counter?  
  • have you been having any problems with your medication or experiencing any side effects?
  • are there any items on your repeat prescription that you don’t need this month? 

Based on the patient’s answers to these questions, the dispenser will make a clinical decision to either dispense the medication or refer the patient back to their prescriber. If a patient doesn’t require an item, the dispenser will mark it as ‘Not Dispensed’.