GPs practising under NHS contracts are being advised not to offer private prescriptions alongside FP10s.
GPC has taken legal advice on whether a GP can offer patients a private prescription where it would be less costly to the patient to do so than paying a prescription charge.
But lawyers suggested that as this would deprive the NHS of money, it would be ‘wrongful’.
Cleveland LMC told members that ‘the question raised relates specifically to whether GPs can issue private prescription forms at the same time as FP10s, in circumstances where this is a cheaper option for the patient than paying the NHS prescription charge’.
It said: ‘GPC was asked to consider whether this could be either a breach of the regulations or collusion to defraud the NHS, who would otherwise recoup the prescription charge.
‘The legal advice received is clear that in cases of treatment under the primary care contract, GPs may not issue private prescriptions alongside and as an alternative to FP10s.’
It added that the legal advice was that ‘in any case where a GP is obliged to issue an FP10, the concurrent issue of a private prescription will be a breach of obligation’.
‘In any case where a GP is obliged or entitled to issue an FP10 the concurrent issue of a private prescription will be conduct calculated to deprive the NHS of a small amount of money and will on that account also be wrongful. The advice is therefore that GPs do not issue private prescriptions under these circumstances,’ it concluded.