Talks under way to save rural dispensing practices

Talks are underway to ensure that rural practices do not go under when they lose their dispensing rights.

Last month's pharmacy White Paper would mean that any practice near a pharmacy would no longer be able to dispense. Some practices could lose more than 40 per cent of their income.

But Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chairman, told GP that ‘work is going on now' to ensure that practices that depend on dispensing will not be threatened by the change.

‘Certainly the DoH, NHS Employers and ourselves are aware that not every practice regards income from dispensing as a nice little extra. A lot of small remote and rural practices depend on that money,' he said.

‘We're actively looking at this now, and trying to understand what makes those practices different.'

Dr Buckman could not give a timescale for talks, and said it was too early to say what form protection would take. But he warned it would be unlikely to involve changing the global sum to take greater account of rurality.

Other options could include directed or local enhanced service funding for rural services or more generous PMS contracts.

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