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Dispensing GPs set for cash windfall

Dispensing practices are set for a £10.7m cash windfall this year in lieu of underpayments made in each of the last two years.

NHS Employers and the GPC agreed that £10m in England and £700,000 in Wales will be paid to practices after practices were underpaid in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

The Dispensing Doctors Association (DDA) said this would equate to around £6-7,000 for a typical dispensing practice, of which there are over 1100 in England and Wales. The DDA said non-dispensing practices will also receive some payments to cover underpayments for flu vaccinations.

The formula for calculating payments to dispensing GPs has also been revised after the GPC and DDA agreed changes with NHS Employers.

The revisions will mean the total available to dispensing doctors in 2012/13 will be £170m and that there will be annual revisions to take into account increases in GP pay and changes in the volume of medicines dispensed. The changes are designed to ensure payments to dispensing doctors are more stable in future years rather than fluctuating as they have done in previous years.

The parties also agreed that dispensing doctors will receive £20 for each special they dispense, bringing their arrangements in line with pharmacies.

They also agreed to introduce new methodology clarifying what will happen in the event of an over-or underspend.

Dr David Bailey, GPC lead negotiator, said:  ‘Dispensing doctors provide a unique service for their patients and we hope they will be pleased with the outcome of these negotiations, as they not only address the underpayment issue but also put in place a sustainable model for setting the fee scale in the future.'

Dr David Baker, CEO of the DDA said: ‘We're pleased an agreement has been reached. It is significant, a substantial amount of underpayment is coming back to us.'

‘The £10m is divided pro rata by the number of prescriptions dispensed by a practice in the year ending 31 March 2011. It works out at about 12p per script. The average practice will probably get about £6-7,000. ‘

‘They've also agreed a new way forward to prevent that sort of problem happening in the future so that we no longer get the problems with overspending and underspending. Unfortunately it also reflects the straightened times in which we live, it is not generous but it is at least understandable and transparent.'

Stephen Golledge, lead GMS negotiator for NHS Employers said: ‘We are pleased to agree these improvements to the arrangements for paying dispensing doctors for the services they provide in the community.'

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