Dispensing feescale

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25 / 9 / 2009

Dispensing doctors receive a fee for each item that they dispense. The feescale was introduced in the 2006/07 General Medical Services (GMS) contract.

The feescale is calculated by dividing the dispensing doctors’ remuneration envelope by the number of items expected to be dispensed that year.

The feescale is calculated and agreed by the Technical Steering Committee run by the HSC Information Centre (HSC IC), every year.

This page provides information on the most recent changes for 2014/15 and a summary of the changes from 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Feescale changes

2014/15

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has released the updated dispensing feescale for GMS GPs, to come into effect from 1 October 2014.

Key changes are:

  • the dispensing envelope for 2014/15 has increased since 2013/4 from £172.3m to £174.2m
  • the average volume increase of fees over the last two years has been 1.13%
  • dispensing fees will be uplifted by 1.8%.

Full details can be found on the HSCIC website

2013/14

NHS Employers, the GPC, NHS England and the Welsh government have reached agreement around the agreed changes for 2013/14 for England and Wales, as outlined below and effective from 1 October 2013:

  • an envelope of £172.3m for  dispensing fees.

See the HSCIC website for the Committee's full report, Proposed Dispensing Feescales for GMS Contractors in England & Wales from 1 October 2013.

The Department of Health has updated the Statement of Financial Entitlements (SFE) to reflect these changes.

2012/13

The agreed dispensing envelope for 2012/13 was £170m. An updated methodology which more accurately remunerates dispensing doctors for the medicines they dispense was used calculate the new dispensing feescales for 1 October 2012 onwards.

2010/11

The agreed dispensing envelope for 2010/11 was £168.7 million - the agreed feescales for 2010/11 were calculated to deliver this amount.

See the HSCIC website for the Committee's full report, Proposed Dispensing Feescales for GMS Contractors in England & Wales from 1 October 2010.

The Department of Health has updated the Statement of Financial Entitlements (SFE) to reflect these changes.

2009/10

The 2009/10 feescale ran from 1 October 2009 until 30 September 2010. The dispensing envelope for 2009/10 was £165.8 million

Method for calculating dispensing feescales  

In 2012, NHS Employers, the GPC, DH and Welsh government agreed a new mechanism to uplift the feescale annually, starting in 2012/13. 

Mechanism for agreeing all future feescales

The new mechanism is now being used to calculate future ones, as follows:

  • the mechanism splits the feescale into a 'cost' and 'profit' element
  • the 'cost' element will be uplifted every year to allow for the annual increase in volume - the volume will be calculated by the HSC Information Centre using data on historic increases
  • the 'profit' element will be uplifted by the annual Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) award
  • this mechanism is designed to align profits with the uplift for all GP practices through the DDRB process, whilst recognising the increase in dispensing volume and the associated costs
  • an agreed methodology will be used on how under and overspends against the budget envelope are to be treated
  • the changes to the feescale will take place in October each year.

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