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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

New fee scale for dispensing doctors

The BMA’s General Practitioners Committee (GPC) and NHS Employers have agreed a new fee scale for dispensing doctors, which will come into effect next week, 1st October 2009.

The fee scale for dispensing doctors will be lowered by 8.7 per cent for the remaining six months of the financial year, representing a 4.9 per cent decrease across the whole year.

And, as of 1st April 2010, there will be an increase to produce a figure that is appropriate for the full new financial year.

Understandably this has left GPC disappointed. Many patients in rural areas rely on dispensing practices to obtain their medicine and the BMA’s very concerned that NHS Employers have underestimated the costs of providing dispensing services, which inevitably rise with increasing volume.

The ‘cost of service inquiry’ should help develop a fairer cost analysis and reimbursement structure in future, but the government needs to act urgently to deal with the unilateral withdrawal of discounts by many of the drug wholesalers, which could threaten the viability of some dispensing practices.

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