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Out-of-hours providers to get a prescribing budget

Out-of-hours providers to get a prescribing budget

The Department of Health is set to recommend out-of-hours providers be given their own prescribing budgets.

The move would end the practice of GPs using either their practice's prescribing budget or the patient's GP's when they prescribe while on an out-of-hours shift.

An unpublished review of out-of-hours prescribing has concluded GP co-operatives, primary care organisations and other providers should have a budget for drugs supplied or prescribed by GPs working out-of-hours. The review is also thought to have recommended the money be taken from primary care organisations' unified budgets rather than top-slicing practices' prescribing budget.

A pilot scheme run by Medway Doctors on Call in Kent had found it simpler to top-slice an amount from every practice's prescribing budget – 50p per patient per year, or £60,000 a year for 300,000 patients.

But the Department of Health has discounted this

option because under the new contract prescribing funds come from primary care organisations' unified budgets rather than practices' global sums.

A department spokesman said: 'Unified budgets, not

the global sum, provide the

resource for prescribing budgets.

'We expect PCTs to allocate these budgets – more than likely the budgets will be based on their assessment of historic spend and knowledge of local circumstances.'

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