Dispensing doctor payments

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21 / 9 / 2016 Midnight

Some practices, usually in rural areas, provide dispensing services to patients that find it difficult to access a pharmacy. 

Dispensing doctors receive a fee for each item that they dispense. The dispensing doctors  feescale is calculated by dividing dispensing doctors’ remuneration, by the number of items expected to be dispensed in the relevant year. 

The feescale is calculated and agreed by the Technical Steering Committee run by NHS Digital , 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

2016/17

NHS Digital has released the updated feescale for GMS GPs with effect from 1 October 2016.

Key changes are: 

  • the dispensing envelope for 2016/17 has increased from £176.1m to £178.2m
  • the average volume increase of fees is 0.54 per cent

Full details can be found on the NHS Digital website

2015/16

NHS Digital has released the updated dispensing feescale for GMS GPs with effect from 1 October 2015

Key changes are:

  • the dispensing envelope for 2015/16 has increased from £174.2m to £176.1m
  • the average volume increase of fees is 1.42 per cent

Full details can be found on the NHS Digital website.  

2014/15

NHS Digital 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 per cent
  • dispensing fees will be uplifted by 1.8 per cent.

Full details can be found on the NHS Digital 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 NHS Digital 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.

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.

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 NHS Digital 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

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