Rural surgeries may be threatened by the rise in community pharmacies due to competition over dispensing, according to the Welsh GPC and a dispensing doctors’ group.
The GPC and the Dispensing Doctors Association have written to the Welsh Assembly’s health committee to flag up the importance of dispensing income to rural practices, and warning that there has been a ‘significant decline’ in the reimbursement for dispensing NHS medicines.
Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of the Welsh GPC, wrote: ‘Owing to the very tight financial situation, dispensing income has become a vital stream of funding for the provision of primary care services in many rural areas. The revenue that practices receive from providing dispensing services may not have been designed to subsidise the provision of general medical services in rural areas but in reality this is very much the case.’
It cited figures from the NHS Wales GP practice analysis that showed that between June 2013 and March 2014, the number of dispensing practices in Wales has dropped from 88 to 83 and the number of dispensing doctors has dropped by around 4%.
Earlier this year during the annual LMC conference in York, Jones described the GP profession in Wales as being in ‘intensive care’ due to inadequate resources and increased demands. ‘The workforce situation, unless urgently addressed, will further exacerbate the problems we face. If it sounds like a crisis, smells like a crisis, feels like a crisis then it is a crisis and that needs to be said.’