HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 13 April 2016

Dispensing practice contribution flagged up in future of pharmacy consultation

13 April 2016, Dispensing Doctors’ Association


According to the DDA, the location of dispensing practices and the pharmacy’s distance to a GP surgery are two factors that should be considered when deciding the Pharmacy Access Scheme Funding. An interim summary of responses to the DoH consultation for the future of community pharmacy shows that most respondents are opposed to a hub-and-spoke dispensing model. The DDA will be publishing a response to the consultation on hub-and-spoke taking place separately.


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Dispensing practice contribution flagged up in future of pharmacy consultation

13 April 2016, Dispensing Doctor’s Association


The location of dispensing practices, as well as the pharmacy’s distance from a GP surgery, are among the factors to take into account when deciding Pharmacy Access Scheme funding, the Department of Health has been told by respondents to its ‘future of community pharmacy’ consultation.


In an Interim summary of responses to DH consultation on community pharmacy, the DH is also warned against incentivising large numbers of relocations to areas funded by the Access Scheme. Respondents, which include the DDA, said: “It would be helpful to understand how the criteria used at national level would interact with local decisions regarding Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments.”


The consultation, which aims to reduce community pharmacy funding by 6% from 2016-17, was originally scheduled to close on March 24, but nine days before this deadline, it was extended by two months. Interim responses to the consultation that have been seen by DDA Online include those from the Local Government Association and Healthwatch England, as well as pharmacists’ representative bodies.


According to the report, there is general support for the Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide financial support to ‘essential’ pharmacies, including those in rural areas. Respondents suggest: “To ensure that populations are protected, a full impact assessment should be carried out and published on the Pharmacy Access Scheme.”


Other factors to include in the design of the scheme include the following suggestions:


adequate long term funding for the long term – but ideally not using funds drawn from the community pharmacy funding envelope

allocations should take into account the quality and range of the pharmacy service and number of other pharmacy providers in the areas; local geography: local transport links; rurality of the local area; access for vulnerable patients and carers – and demography: deprivation and potential health inequalities; prevalence of long term conditions and age.

Respondents referenced the Essential Small Pharmacy Local Pharmaceutical Service (ESPLPS) and suggested that the Access Scheme should be administered in a more targeted manner.


The interim report also references respondents’ concerns about proposals to introduce longer prescription duration. Respondents felt that this could be wasteful and costly, and could also bring safety risks, as well as reduce dispensing fees.


Many respondents also stated their opposition to centralised (hub and spoke) dispensing. One stakeholder also noted that dispensing doctors were out of scope and suggested that, for equity of access and standards for the supply of medicines, dispensing doctors should also have access to new models of supply. The DDA will publish a response to the hub and spoke consultation, which is taking place separately.


A range of additional comments and new ideas were raised by respondents to achieve efficiencies in community pharmacy, including the following:


changing regulations to allow community pharmacy professionals to deliver advanced services outside the pharmacy

allowing generic substitution

changing the market entry regulatory framework to enable rational planning and mergers or market exit without fear of speculative and potentially predatory applications

compensation for pharmacies affected by the funding reductions;

patient registration

proposals to change the Drug Tariff that could affect other stakeholders (ie dispensing doctors) should be subject to consultation with those stakeholders concerned.

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

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