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Practice dispensing volumes in Scotland have fallen 5% during 2011, to 3.1 million. At the same time, pharmacy dispensing volumes are up 3%. Dispensing doctors now account for only 3.27% of all items in Scotland.
The latest statistics on dispensing in Scotland
also reveal that gross ingredient costs in dispensing practice fell by 10% to £23.3 million, while GIC in pharmacy saw a rise of 1%. Dispensing doctors account for 2.3% of gross ingredient costs, down from 2.6% in 2010. Net ingredient cost per item for dispensing doctors fell from £7.70 to £7.27 between 2010-2011 (5.6%). The 2011 pharmacy NIC is also down from 2010, by 0.6% to £10.33.
Other key findings include:
Item volumes: Undoubtedly, the fall in items is as a result of a fall in the number of dispensing practices in Scotland caused by predatory pharmacy applications and some practices opening pharmacies.
VAT payments: The fall in VAT payments is because, as of 1st July 2011, most Scottish dispensing doctors have had to register for VAT; NHS Scotland has ceased to routinely reimburse VAT except for PA items. This has generated a recurring £6m annual benefit to NHS Scotland, as practices now recover their VAT from HMRC (which is not a devolved budget, unlike healthcare). VAT reimbursed Jan-Jun 2011 = £1.8m, Jul - Dec 2011 = £0.1m.
NIC figures: Why are the NIC figures so much higher for pharmacy? NHS Scotland does not publish dispensing patient numbers, so it is difficult to do a proper analysis, but it is a known fact that the NIC of prescriptions generated by dispensing doctors is lower per patient than those from prescribing colleauges. See previous DDA Online stories:
There are several possible explanations: