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What happens when there is no community pharmacy?

Conference hears a rallying cry for dispensing practices

September 28th 2023

Tagged: DDA news Conference news Pharmacy owners' news

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Has anyone thought what happens to patients where there is no local community pharmacy?

That is the question posed to politicians – and to the DDA Conference late yesterday – in a presentation by DDA Board Member Dr David Jenner.

The presentation highlighted that in the NHS England Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care, community pharmacies received £645 million in new money – but with no commensurate funding for dispensing practices.

As the statutory negotiator for GPs, the BMA should be representing dispensing practices but he noted: “The BMA either forgets or ignores us”. This is why the DDA has launched a dispensing practice Call to Action.

Looking also at issues affecting Wales and Scotland, Dr Jenner asked: Is there a future for dispensing doctors?

Factors for consideration include:

  • Lack of recognition in policy
  • Lack of political will to renegotiate on reimbursement
  • Lack of inflation-linked uplifts to dispensing fee envelope
  • End to, or reductions in discounts from pharma
  • Developments within pharmacy clinical training, Internet pharmacy and ‘Big Corp’ (Amazon and United Health)
  • Changes to prescribing intervals (Wales) and possibly England/Scotland

However, there are opportunities to be had from shortages of pharmacists and pharmacy funding problems, Dr Jenner suggested, inviting delegates to “expect reform but not extinction.”

View the full presentation: The future for dispensing doctors in the NHS.