About Dispensing Practice
Dispensing doctors are general practitioners (GPs) who provide primary healthcare to around 10.5 million rural patients. Nearly 3.6 million of these patients live remotely from a community pharmacy; at the patient’s request dispensing doctors are allowed to dispense the medicines they prescribe for these patients.
Only certain patients are eligible to receive dispensing services from a dispensing doctor; in total, around 7% of all prescription items are dispensed by doctors.
The unique benefits of the dispensing doctor service are that it provides access to medicines and general healthcare under one roof.
A total network of 1,223 dispensing practices across Great Britain is located as follows:
England: 1059 dispensing practices, 9.97 million patients (April 2020) NHS Digital
Scotland: 93 dispensing practices, 274,014 patients (April 2021). Public Health Scotland
Wales: 71 dispensing practices, 285,093 patients (February 2021) NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership
The DDA has produced a briefing paper for NHS commissioners in England, summarising the key points about dispensing practice. Papers for Scotland and Wales will follow in due course.
Please click on the links below to find out more about dispensing practice.
Dispensing practice in England: a briefing paper for NHS commissioners: high res version; low res version
Safeguards in dispensing practice
Challenges in Dispensing Practice