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Contractors will not police prescribers, PSNC tells DoH

By News team

Proposals that would force contractors to ensure that prescriptions included the correct information to identify prescribers for re-charge purposes have been rejected by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.

Reacting to an amendment drafted in the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, the PSNC said: "The NHS must deal with [this problem] at the source . . . and not introduce a ‘policing’ role for pharmacists that could have a severe impact on patient care."

The new draft terms of service that have alarmed the PSNC are contained in Schedule 4, paragraph 9(2)(b) and Schedule 7 paragraph 7(2)(b) of the 2013 pharmacy regulations that are being written to take account of the abolition of primary care trusts from April 2013.

The amendment seeks to oblige pharmacists to ensure that prescriber identification information is included on the prescription before the prescription can be dispensed. This is needed if the NHS is to correctly re-charge the costs of the prescription, the Department of Health says.

However, in its response to a consultation on the draft amendments, the PSNC argues that prescribers’ contractual obligations and terms of service should be amended to ensure the correct identifier is used. In addition, where incomplete prescriptions are issued, the NHS Business Services Authority should be empowered to investigate at a cost to the prescriber or the organisation giving authority to prescribe.

Other issues raised by the PSNC

Other issues raised in the PSNC’s response to the consultation on the rewriting of the regulations include:

Methadone: Proposals requiring methadone to be supplied in separate dose bottles, and the relevant dispensing fees

Fitness-to-practise information: The PSNC says that information held by PCTs should be transferrable to the NHS Commissioning Board, that it should be held at a national level and that all contractors should be able to rely on previously submitted FtP information, provided this is up to date.

Publication of pharmaceutical lists: The PSNC has requested that lists should be provided to local pharmaceutical committees and the PSNC, or, at the very least, be made available for public inspection.

Health Education England: The PSNC warns that a new obligation in the terms of service to "co-operate with Health Education England" (Schedule 4 paragraph 33, and Schedule 7 paragraph 16) should not be onerous. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11116070

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