Repeat Dispensing – A new way to get your regular prescriptions

What is the Repeat Dispensing service?

The repeat dispensing service is a tool used by GPs to reduce the amount of administration associated with generating prescriptions. Instead of the patient having to apply for a prescription every 4-8 weeks, the GP can pre-sign a batch of prescriptions in advance that are sent to the pharmacy at the specified interval. The end result is less paperwork for the pharmacy, less paperwork for the patient and less paperwork for the GP. This system is very much like a standing order for medicines.

How Does Repeat Dispensing Work?

If you’re prescriber thinks that you are suitable for electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) they will alert you of this and walk you through the process. There are three key elements to the repeat dispensing cycle:


Your GP will tell you how often they wish to see you for review in the future and based on this they sign a batch of prescriptions. For example, a patient might need a blood test annually and so the GP would setup 6 prescriptions to go the pharmacy every 56 days.

Collecting prescriptions

The prescription is sent directly to the pharmacy. The first prescription will be sent on the day that the GP signs it, but future prescriptions will download to the pharmacy one week before the patient needs it.


After collecting the final prescription in the batch the patient now needs to book an appointment at the surgery. It is the patient’s responsibility to organise an appointment and will be different for each patient but usually it would involve either a blood test, physical examination or another type of review.

Frequently asked questions

What Happens If I Am Going Away On Holiday?

If you are going away on holiday and need the prescription a little earlier or perhaps need an additional prescription to cover an extended period the pharmacist can arrange this, although this is at their discretion based on whether they feel this is appropriate.

Will The Same Pharmacy Have To Dispense All The Forms?

No. It is possible to change pharmacies during the batch, however you should consider whether repeat dispensing is the right thing for you, e.g. if you work away from home and don’t always use the same pharmacy, then repeat dispensing in its present form would not be suitable for you.

What Happens If I Want To Change Pharmacy?

If for any reason you want to change dispensing arrangements, e.g. if you move house, then you will need to inform your pharmacy. They can then return any outstanding prescriptions to the NHS spine so that your new pharmacy can access them. Ask your pharmacy to give you a copy of the prescription token so that your new pharmacy can scan it and download the next issue.

Will I Have To Pay For Each Instalment?

Normal prescription charges will apply when you collect each instalment, unless you are covered by an exemption category as listed on the reverse of the prescription forms. You will be asked to confirm the amount of payment made at the pharmacy or the reason that you don’t pay, by filling in the appropriate section of the batch form.

What If I Don’t Need Every Item Each Issue?

Your pharmacy will check with you whether all the medication is required when is prescription is issued. If an item is not dispensed they marked this on the batch prescription form and the NHS will not be charged for that medication on that issue.

How would I know if I am eligible for this service?

In order to qualify for the repeat dispensing service a patient would need to satisfy the four criteria outlined below:

Stable Medication

No significant changes in the last 6 months and no anticipated changes for the duration of the suggested batch

Stable condition

No recent unplanned hospital admissions (in the previous 6 months)

Up to date medication monitoring

Medication review completed within last 6 months

Up to date monitoring

Attendance at clinics, appropriate blood tests performed and satisfactory within appropriate timescales

What happens if I lose my medication?

The pharmacist could dispense an instalment early if they felt it was appropriate but it is probably better to contact the surgery for one off script to put you back on track.