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In October 2008 emergency funding of pharmacy was introduced resulting in a large increase in the total fees paid to pharmacists for dispensing drugs. In the last six months pharmacists were paid a fee which included payment over the whole year, so that for a period they were paid £2.47 an item.
With the start of the new financial year the payment has fallen as expected.
In April 09 for pharmacists
There were 66,063,827 items and fees paid were £142,541,102.71, giving a fee per item of £2.16.
There was clawback of £50.82 million or 8.2% of the net ingredient cost.
In March 09 for pharmacists
There were 66,680,617 items and fees paid were £ 164,965,227.83 , giving a fee per item of £2.47.
There was clawback of £50.62 million or 8.25% of the net ingredient cost.
April 09 dispensing doctors
There were 5,191,284 items and fees paid were £ 11,109,357.99, giving a fee per item of £2.14.
There was clawback of £4.59 million or 11.03% of the net ingredient cost.
So what does this mean?
Each time an item is dispensed in a pharmacy it costs 1.76p more or £1.163 million in April.
If pharmacists paid the same level of clawback as we do they would have paid an extra £17.63 million.
Cost per item
Latest NHS statistics give English NHS population of 50, 868,539.
The number of dispensing patients is 3,513,528.
In April 09 the NIC per patient was £13.11 for items dispensed in a pharmacy. The NIC per patient in doctor dispensing practice was £11.83. So each patient cost an extra £1.28 in the cost of drugs for a prescribing patient compared to a dispensing patient. An extra cost to the government of £60.6 million.
So if pharmacists were paid the same as dispensing doctors, suffered the same clawback and prescribing doctors prescribed as we do in April the saving to the NHS would have been £79.4 million.
These are simple sums performed using only government data. The data is available on the PPD website
These calculations have not been made in order to be critical of pharmacists. They are not responsible for what is prescribed.
The real purpose is to show that dispensing doctors already offer the government value for money on fees and clawback and more importantly we are really cost effective prescribers.
Unfortunately despite these figures there are people in the DH who still firmly believe that we cost more.