A review of the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 has uncovered disincentives for dispensing practices to engage in collaborative working/practice amalgamations. It has also agreed that legislation surrounding dispensing rights is overly complicated, resulting in confusion for contractors and patients.
Following consultation with organisations including the DDA, the Department of Health and Social Care has pledged to review and consider whether the regulations relating to dispensing rights should be redrafted for simplicity. It has also pledged to monitor the situation regarding amalgamations involving dispensing practices, and make a further assessment by the end of 2018-19 financial year.
Other concerns raised by the review include the revelation of “strong evidence of prescription direction to some distance selling pharmacies”. A recommendation has been made to the DHSC to consult on the introduction of a new requirement for distance-selling pharmacies to declare any vested or significant interests. Regulations relating to pharmacy applications in rural areas will also be fine-tuned.
A further review of the regulations will be published by 31 March 2023.