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Independents' Day

NHS England cracks down on practices 'influencing' patients' choice of pharmacy

NHS England is asking that all GP practices ‘prominently’ display a poster informing patients of their right to choose their dispensing pharmacy.

A letter from NHS England head of primary care Dr David Geddes said that NHS England was ‘concerned’ that practices are ’seeking to influence inappropriately which pharmacy dispenses a patient’s medicines’.

It added that it takes ‘very seriously any attempt to undermine’ patients’ NHS constitutional ’right to choose freely which pharmacy dispenses their prescriptions’.

NHS England has created posters for GP practices and for dispensing practices which say: ’You have the right to collect medicines that have been prescribed for you from any pharmacy you choose.

’Your choice should not be influenced by letters you receive in the post, or by any doctor or pharmacist.

’Please contact NHS England if someone is trying to influence your decision on which pharmacy you would like to use.’

Dr Geddes wrote: ’We will take action against individuals and contractors to protect patient’s rights. In order to ensure patients are fully informed of their choice we are asking all general practices and pharmacies to display the enclosed poster prominently, as close as practicable to the location where patients receive prescriptions.’


Readers' comments (23)

  • why? is the cost of the prescription different?

    another pen pusher

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  • 5.34pm

    Because us nasty dispensing practices might be forcing patients to use our dispensary, which is literally ten paces from my consulting room door, rather than allowing them the freedom of driving 2 miles to the local pharmacy. That is the local pharmacy that has the total monopoly over dispensing to my patients who live within a mile of them but would much prefer to use our dispensary. But hayho business monopolies are legal....arent they??

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  • but some pharmacies and pharmacists are terrible. why shouldn't I tell patients to avoid them? :)

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  • I think the chaps at NHSE must have a little too much time on their hands. Could we be told how much this campaign to state the obvious has cost?

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  • This is a priority issue that must be addressed above all the other trivial concerns in primary care. Only hard action and crack downs will work. Someone needs to be made an example of.

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  • This is typical bullying pointless micromanagement by a hopeless nhse
    This moronic quango grossly inferior to the far more intelligent nhs management in Wales Scotland continues to fiddle with impotent trivia whilst English GP is in a crisis largely of their making
    What planet are these fools on ?

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  • Sounds like someone at NHSE is being lobbied, wined and dined by a large pharmacy chain. When we opened a pharmacy in our premises we were told that we couldn't put up an arrow pointing to it, unless we put up arrows pointing to all the other pharmacies in town.

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  • As a pharmacist directly affected by prescription direction, I can fully appreciate the importance of respecting patient choice. Obviously I hope that they choose me, but I only influence this by the service I provide. Any other 'influence' is unethical for either of our professions.

    If a rival practice set up and poached your patients to the extent that you became unviable, you would at the very least insist that they gained these patients by fair means.

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  • Anonymous | Pharmacist03 Oct 2015 3:12pm

    does tesco have a sign directing to asda, sainsburys?

    do local MPs have directions telling people they can vote for someone else?

    do you have signs in your pharmacy alerting customers of their choice ?

    it's called political correctness and it is what is bringing a lot of use down - we have real problems with managing demand and NHSE (public money) would be better tackling these problems rather than PC type issues. I agree that for such an issue to be high up the agenda they must have been lobbied.

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  • Pharmacist 3:12

    How would you feel about the absolute monopoly pharmacist have over GP dispensaries based on the 1 mile rule? As our practice has just lost 50% of its dispensing patients because a pharmacy has opened in our village when it just wasn't needed. One sided none sense.

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