Dispensing GPs face £40k-a-month funding shortfall

Dispensing practices are facing 'huge cashflow problems' after reimbursements worth up to £40,000 a month were delayed by weeks.

Dispensing: practices denied thousands of pounds
Dispensing: practices denied thousands of pounds

The GPC met with NHS England on 11 July to demand that the problems faced by dispensing practices across England are sorted out.

Dr David Bailey, GPC Wales chairman and UK GPC negotiator, said the delays are causing ‘great difficulty’ for practices.

‘It is a lot of money and if that is going out to wholesalers, and reimbursement is late, it is leaving a £40k hole in your current account. It is putting practices in great difficulty and then the banks get antsy.

‘Hopefully it is just teething problems. Practices have huge cashflow problems at the moment, with late payments.’

Problems with payments to dispensing practices have been reported in Devon and Lincolnshire among other areas.

Devon LMC’s Dr Mark Sanford-Wood said several practices in Devon have been affected.

‘For a practice that’s 100% dispensing with a 2,000-patient list size you could easily be talking about £30 to £40k a month,’ he said.

‘We are trying to find out whether there has been a change in regulation. We are assuming that it is an operational glitch post 1 April. There have been so many other payment problems with the new systems not working well. We are assuming it is in the same category. We want to make sure there hasn’t been a change in payment mechanisms.’

Since April, NHS reforms have disrupted payments to practices. Some have been left with five-figure shortfalls in monthly income, raising fears that they could be forced to lay off staff.

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