Government U-turn saves dispensing practices

The government has abandoned pharmacy plans which would have destabilised many dispensing practices.

In an answer to a question in the House of Commons today, health minister Phil Hope noted ‘the strength of responses’ to the plans. He said he had ‘taken into account the views of those attending the listening events and the meetings my officials have had with interested parties.
‘Because of this, I have taken the decision that there will be no change to the current arrangements on GPs dispensing medicines to their patients,’ he said.

Mr Hope added that a full announcement on the future of England's pharmaceutical provision would follow in the New Year.

Andrew Lansley, Conservative shadow health secretary, said: ‘This is a massive U-turn from the government. For months, it refused to acknowledge calls from us, patients and GPs to allow doctors to retain the ability to dispense drugs. Had it gone ahead there could have been disastrous consequences for patients in rural communities.

‘We welcome the government’s decision but it could have saved itself and the taxpayer a lot of time and effort if it had listened to us in the first place.’

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