Dispensers face cash-flow problem amid fee scale dispute

Dispensing practices face cash-flow problems after an expected rise in their fee scale failed to materialise last month.

Dr Baker: dispensing practices could lose out by up to £210 a month
Dr Baker: dispensing practices could lose out by up to £210 a month

Dr David Baker, chairman of the Dispensing Doctors Association, said dispensers had expected the DoH to introduce a higher fee scale from April.

In October last year the fee scale for dispensing practices was lowered by 8.7% for the remaining six months of the financial year, to bring a 4.9% decrease across the whole year.

This was understood to be a temporary measure to bring dispensing profits in line with the pay award recommended by the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body. It was expected that from 1 April 2010, the fee scale would be raised again, but so far this has not occured.

However, a DoH spokeswoman said: ‘In November 2009 there was meeting with the DoH, NHS Employers and BMA where it was agreed that the fee scale wouldn't be adjusted until October 2010.'

Dispensing practices earn around 7p per item, so practices dispensing 3,000 items monthly are losing out by £210 a month, Dr Baker said.

While Dr Baker said he had ‘great faith' that dispensing practices will be reimbursed, he said this was unlikely to happen until October.

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