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Electronic Repeat Dispensing: Increasing Uptake


During the pandemic COVID 19, NHS England required an immediate increase in the uptake of Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD). This case study outlines the response and support provided to primary care.

A project team led by Midlands & Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit was set up to under very short timescales and involved four organisations working collaboratively, this is: Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU), Arden and GEM Commissioning Support Unit (AGEM CSU), East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

The Challenge

There was an immediate need to improve the low utilisation of eRD across the Midlands region. Recent data, benchmarking eRD uptake by AHSN footprint showed that the East and West Midlands were in the lowest quartile nationally. ERD has been part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework since 2005 and part of the General Medicines Services Contract since 2019. Although eRD has a number of well documented benefits for primary care, uptake has been highly variable.

An innovative and co-ordinated response was needed to encourage the at scale roll out of eRD.

Our Solution

Using the project management expertise of the MLCSU Medicines Management and Optimisation (MMO) team, the following programme of delivery was rolled out:

  • Creation of a dedicated eRD queries e-mail inbox helpline
  • Delivery of two eRD webinars focussing on implementation of eRD with associated output of a Frequently Asked Questions document
  • Sharing of an eRD Standard Operating Procedure template, that could be adopted on a wider scale.
  • Development of an eRD FutureNHS Platform to host eRD specific discussions and provide an eRD document resource library.

The MLCSU Communications & Engagement team provided experience and expertise in the set up of remote access webinars to more easily reach the target audience of clinical and non-clinical staff working in primary care.


  • 669 Healthcare professionals joined the two MS Teams Webinar sessions. Almost two thirds of attendees worked in GP Practice and over one third of attendees were non-clinical.
  • Webinar post-satisfaction survey results highlighted that 82% of respondents felt they had a better understanding of how to implement eRD. 84% of respondents rated the webinar as 'excellent' or 'good.'
  • 405 Healthcare professionals registered onto the newly created eRD FutureNHS platform. Almost 2,000 documents have been downloaded from the platform, this on average approximately 5 documents per user.

Next Steps

This programme utilised both live webinars, recording of the webinars, tailored targeted communications, helplines, discussion forums and an easy to access resource library. It emphasises the benefits of collaborative working, at scale, across regions. It has been recommended that this model of delivery be extended to future working models and programmes.

"MLCSU programme management and technical support enabled a complex project across different organisations and regions to be delivered both efficiently and effectively. Webinars were pulled together within a short time frame, and were both seamlessly and technically delivered to audiences of over 700, receiving excellent feedback on content. I would recommend MLCSU project management and webinar skills to others."
Kate Dawson, Consultant Pharmacist - Medicines Optimisation, East Midlands Academic Health Science Network