Electronic Repeat Dispensing Guidance – May 2015

Download: Electronic Repeat Dispensing Guidance

Document Purpose: Guidance
Document Name: Electronic Repeat Dispensing
Author: NHS England, Patients & Information, Digital Technology
Publication Date: May 2015
Target Audience: CCG Clinical Leaders, CSU Managing Directors, GPs
Description: Repeat dispensing with the Electronic Prescription Service provides huge efficiency savings in general practice. Repeat dispensing used with EPS introduced new functionality and legal prescription information that differs from the paper process. This guidance enables prescribers and dispensers to use the functionality effectively.


Two thirds of prescriptions issued in primary care are repeat prescriptions. These repeat prescriptions account for nearly 80 per cent of NHS medicine costs for primary care. The management of these prescriptions and the time involved in processing them can be significant.

There are up to 410 million repeat prescriptions generated every year – equivalent to an average of more than 200 per GP per week. It is estimated that up to 330 million, or 80 per cent, of all repeat prescriptions could eventually be replaced with repeat dispensing; this could save 2.7 million hours of GP and practice time.

In order to provide a more efficient way to manage repeat prescriptions in 2005 the government introduced Repeat Dispensing Services. Initially repeat dispensing was only available using paper based prescriptions but since July 2009 it has been possible to use repeat dispensing via Release 2 of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS). This is called electronic repeat dispensing to differentiate it from paper based Repeat Dispensing.

Electronic repeat dispensing can only be achieved when both the prescribing and the dispensing systems are using EPS Release 2. It is not possible to use electronic repeat dispensing with EPS Release 1.