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PJ Online | News: Repeat dispensing pilots announced

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7204 p895-899
29 June 2002

This article

News summary

Repeat dispensing pilots announced

Pilot schemes for repeat dispensing are to start in the autumn. Primary care trusts are shortly to be asked to bid to be in the first wave of about 30 pilots, with a second wave to be introduced in 2003.

The Department of Health says the schemes will make it easier for patients with chronic illnesses to obtain repeat prescriptions, speeding up services and relieving pressure on GP surgeries. It is also an opportunity to make better use of pharmacists' skills.

The schemes are to be restricted to computer-generated prescriptions where both GP and patient agree to repeat dispensing by a pharmacist. Hand-written prescriptions and electronic prescription transmission pilot sites are excluded from the scheme.

Whether a particular treatment should be included in the scheme will be a matter of clinical judgement for the prescriber and mutual agreement between prescriber, patient and, ideally, the pharmacist. The expectation is that schemes will apply only to patients with stable chronic conditions, but no group of patients or conditions is expected to be excluded from the scheme. Instalment intervals and dispensing intervals are also expected to be left to clinical and professional judgement.

Subject to legislative changes, it is possible that pharmacists will be allowed to dispense less than the stipulated amount if patients say that they already have enough medicine. Dosage form optimisation by pharmacists may also be allowed, ie, supplying half the number of double strength tablets, but pharmacists will not be allowed to alter prescribed doses.

Patients will be issued with a set of prescriptions, one for each planned dispensing episode. The first is to be signed by the doctor and will be the legal prescription, while the rest will be used for reimbursement purposes each time medicine is issued. Patients will be free to choose whether to keep the repeat forms themselves and to take one to the pharmacy each time medication is required or to leave them all at a chosen pharmacy. In both cases, subsequent issues of medicine will have to be from the same pharmacy.

Pharmacists will receive the standard dispensing fee, and patients will be liable for a prescription charge, each time medication is issued. There may also be circumstances under which pharmacists will receive monthly or annual fees. Negotiations are currently taking place between the Department and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.

Details are available on the internet.

Broad Spectrum, p902

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Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20007146

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