Last reviewed 10 June 2020

NHS England has announced that GPs no longer need to obtain patient consent for electronic repeat prescriptions and can instead apply their clinical judgement.

Under the Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primary Care Services During a Pandemic etc Regulations 2020, GP practices in England may transfer any clinically suitable patient onto electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) if they are already receiving, or have agreed to receive, electronic prescriptions.

This applies to any patient who has previously had medication dispensed by means of the electronic prescription service (EPS); any patient who has recorded a nominated pharmacy either via the practice, pharmacy or NHS App; or any patient whose practice is live with EPS Phase 4.

Under normal circumstances, patients need to individually consent to receiving medication via electronic repeat prescriptions but NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have agreed that this can be suspended until at least 30 June, in certain circumstances.

GPs are being asked, using their clinical judgement, to identify any patient who is suitable for eRD and, if they are already receiving electronic prescriptions, convert their prescription to eRD.

After having done this, the practice is being asked to contact those patients to inform them that their prescription has been converted, and provide some general information on eRD including how to nominate a pharmacy if they have not done so.

An update will be sent to practices at the end of the month on the future of the suspension.