NHS Employers, on behalf of the health departments in England and Wales, has agreed to revise the formula that is used to calculate the remuneration paid to dispensing doctors.
The fee scale is calculated by dividing the dispensing doctors’ remuneration envelope by the number of items expected to be dispensed that year.
It is agreed by the Technical Steering Committee run by the NHS Information Centre every year.
NHS Employers, the Dispensing Doctors’ Association (DDA) and the GPC have agreed that £10m in England and £700,000 in Wales will be paid to practices in lieu of any underpayments in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
Chief executive officer of the DDA Dr David Baker said the agreement would see dispensing practices reimbursed by around 12p for every item issued in 2010/11.
Non-dispensing practices that personally administered items such as flu jabs will also receive 12p for each item, Dr Baker said.
‘The average is £7,000 per practice. But that is just taking the £10m and dividing it by the number of practices. In fact there isn’t a real average as practices are so different,' he said.
NHS Employers agreed that there would be annual revisions to take into account increases in GP pay and changes in the volume of medicines dispensed.
In addition there is a new methodology that clarifies what will happen in the event of an over- or underspend.
Lead negotiator for the GPC Dr David Bailey said: ‘Dispensing doctors provide a unique service for their patients and we hope they will be pleased with the outcome of these negotiations, as they not only address the underpayment issue but also put in place a sustainable model for setting the fee scale in the future.’
NHS Employers has also agreed that dispensing doctors will receive £20 for each special medicine they dispense to cover out-of-pocket costs. This is in line with a dispensing fee already paid to pharmacies to dispense special medicines.
The total available to dispensing doctors in 2012/13 will be £170m.