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Pharmacy bulletin for community pharmacy, dispensing doctors and dispensing appliance contractors

14 December 2016

Help manage the winter prescription workload with eRD

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) offers many extra benefits over paper repeat dispensing and repeat prescribing.

On average, GP practices using the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) are sending over half of their prescriptions electronically, but electronic repeat dispensing makes up less than 12% of this total. NHS England says that 80% of current repeats could be transferred to electronic repeat dispensing, which could save over 2.7 million GP practice hours.

eRD simplifies the repeat prescribing process and offers dispensers a range of benefits including:

  • improved stock control - the issues of an eRD prescription are downloaded seven days before they are due, allowing time to order any items which are out of stock
  • reduced time spent collecting paper prescriptions from prescribing sites
  • no need to retain and store paper repeatable prescriptions and batch issues
  • electronic reimbursement reduces the workload at the end of the month

Each time dispensers are required to dispense an eRD prescription, they must ask patients several questions, including details about their medication and whether they have seen a health professional recently. This enables the dispenser to make a clinical decision to either dispense the medication or refer the patient back to their prescriber.

To find out more about eRD, download the new Maximising eRD toolkit, register for a webinar and follow the e-learning package to understand how to identify suitable patients and more.

Community Pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond

The Department of Health recently published 'Community Pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond', which provides details of the changes to the pharmacy sector and the contractual framework.

Some of the key elements include:

  • changes to fees and allowances which were reflected in the Drug Tariff from 1 December 2016 and includes consolidating a range of fees into a single activity fee
  • introduction of a quality payments scheme
  • a new NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service.

Some of the detail within these changes impact on NHS Digital services, including EPS, Summary Care Record (SCR) and NHSmail. Read more in this bulletin and on the Department of Health website.


Important information about NHSmail

NHS Digital is supporting NHS England to deliver NHSmail for community pharmacy as part of the quality payments scheme. Community pharmacies must have a 'premises specific' shared NHSmail mailbox in order to register for the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) pilot.

A phased approach has been adopted for the allocation of NHSmail accounts, with the intention that there is national coverage by the end of March 2017. Details of how to register for an NHSmail account here.

SCR used in half of community pharmacies

Take up of Summary Care Records (SCR) among community pharmacies in England has reached 50%. This represents nearly 6,000 pharmacies using SCR, which provides access to key clinical information about a patient from the GP record.

To date, more than 20,000 pharmacy professionals have completed online SCR training and almost 90% of community pharmacies have participated in briefing sessions to support their implementation of SCR. The top community pharmacies are accessing SCR on average 50 times a week.

Pharmacy professionals using SCR benefit from improved clinical decision making, reduced patient waiting times and fewer calls to GP surgeries. SCR also supports pharmacy to become the first port of call for minor ailments, helping to free up resource within general practice and A&E.

From April 2017, accessing SCR will also become an NHS England quality measure for community pharmacy. If you have completed the training and not yet accessed SCR, or if you would like to get you pharmacy connected, visit the SCR website. Plus, for a limited time, you can also receive free training support and once your pharmacy has gone live, you will receive £200.

NHS Digital bulletins

As well as this bulletin, NHS Digital produces a range of others, including bulletins targeted at GP and practice staff, digital industry and the research community. You can subscribe to these bulletins here.