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PJ Online | News: Government bows to pressure for dispensing fee rise

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7185 p197-203
16 February 2002

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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (

Government bows to pressure for dispensing fee rise

Community pharmacists in England are to get £4.1m more remuneration this year than originally expected.

Following pressure from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and contractors the Government has agreed to write off half of last year's overpayment. As a result, the dispensing fee for February and March will rise from 87.4p to 91.6p. The fee will further rise to 94.6p in April, as previously agreed.

Kevin Guinness, head of the Department's pharmacy and prescriptions branch, said, in a letter to PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe, that the Government remained of the view that the previously imposed 3.7 per cent increase in the global sum was fair. But it had decided that the difference between the forecast and actual increase in prescription numbers in 2000?01 was exceptional. The forecast increase was 3 per cent. In the event, 6 per cent more prescriptions were dispensed last year, many of them attributable to the introduction of the national service framework for coronary heart disease.

Mr Guinness wrote: "The Government remains firmly committed to taking forward the programme for community pharmacy set out in 'Pharmacy in the future'. In order for this to happen successfully, clearly pharmacies will need to be fairly remunerated for the services which they provide, and pharmacies will need to be convinced that this is happening." He added that he had noted PSNC comments related to what it described as a crisis of confidence in the profession and on the need to develop tangible incentives.

Sue Sharpe, said that the PSNC would not pretend that the new settlement was satisfactory, but that it would now focus on the future. "The need for a new contract has been underlined by what has happened this year," she said.

"But before that can be introduced there is a need to ensure that action is taken by the Government to motivate contractors to feel positive about the future provided they develop their services to implement 'Pharmacy in the future'. The PSNC and contractors will need to demonstrate that we are willing to implement changes, and that we want to be even more valuable a part of a modern NHS."

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