The present political climate in the NHS presents complications for dispensing doctors but it should not be seen as an intention to end or limit the role of dispensing practice.
In his DDA annual conference presentation on the future for dispensing doctors in the NHS, Dr David Jenner, DDA Board Member and dispensing GP from Cullompton, Devon discussed NHS initiatives such as primary care networks. He says that dispensing doctors need to bear in mind that they are VAT registered when other practices usually are not. “Great care is needed if dispensing doctors hold monies for the network and when employing staff.”
Problems arise from the fact that healthcare provision is VAT exempt but ‘services’ are not; potentially, affecting social prescribing. Extended hours provided by other practices’ staff without a contract with your dispensing practice, mergers and incorporation will all affect dispensing rights. Thus, practices are advised to take care over the wording of contracts and seek expert professional advice from the DDA, legal and accountancy firms.
With most dispensing practices in Conservative-hold seats, and with dispensing practice not seen as ‘broken’, there is no immediate incentive to ‘fix it’, he said, adding that the DDA meets regularly with the BMA to ensure dispensing threats are properly managed. He said: “Other areas of the NHS are far more at risk and politically volatile.”
Among the areas covered in the presentation were Integrated Care Systems (ICS), the Good for you, good for us, good for everybody: overprescribing reduction plan, the Electronic Prescription Service, Impact and Investment Fund, Health and Social Care Bill, flu vaccinations.
View the presentation.