eRD is when a person has a stable but long-term condition is prescribed up to 12 months of their medicines.
Why are we doing it?
In England each year over 1 billion prescription items are dispensed. 77% of these are repeat medicines. This is 410 million repeat prescriptions - equivalent to an average of 200 per GP per week. The average number of prescription items per person, per year is now 19. A report in 2002 showed that if 80% of all repeats were issued as repeat dispensing 2.7 million GP hours could be saved. General Practice is facing unprecedented demand from patients and a shortage of GPs. Effective Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) can save up to 46 minutes a day of GP time.
eRD is an integral part of the Electronic Prescribing System which is operated by NHS Digital. The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) sends electronic prescriptions from GP surgeries to pharmacies. EPS allows prescribers to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser (such as a pharmacy) of the patient's choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and staff. Areas that have implemented repeat dispensing well have also been able to demonstrate a reduction in medicines wastage.
Eventually EPS will remove the need for most paper prescriptions.
eRD allows the prescriber to authorise and issue a batch of repeatable prescriptions for up to 12 months with just one digital signature. Patients are required to give their consent for repeat dispensing. This can be verbal and formal written consent is not required.
What’s happening in Wessex?
Wessex AHSN (WAHSN) has been working with CCGs locally since 2015 to increase the utilisation of eRD and has developed a number of resources to support this work from strategic oversight to support of practices with low levels of EPS and ERD (working closely with the NHS Digital Implementation team and local Commissioning Support Unit) to implementation support.
WAHSN captures key lessons for successful and unsuccessful implementation through a local eRD Steering Committee; it was here that patient facing communications and the widely recognised eRD Handbook was born.
The Centre for Implementation Science (CIS) at University of Southampton (UoS) is working with WAHSN to undertake two studies evaluating the experiences of those using eRD services in Wessex. These studies will evaluate eRD from the perspective of those working in General Practice and Community Pharmacy providing eRD as well as those receiving medication via eRD.
Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD): An overview
Electronic Repeat Dispensing - making it work
Electronic Repeat Dispensing - making it work (extended version)
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