Sunday, September 28, 2008

Concerns Raised Over Changes to Dispensing Doctors

A number of Gilberdyke Health Centre patients have raised the issue of the Centre despensary's future.

It is very frustrating when yet again this Labour Government, with its majority of Urban MPs, tries to walk all over rural communities. On the back of it's savage post office closure programme we now see dispensaries as the next target.

Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis has expressed concerns over proposals by the Government to change the way in which doctors can dispense medicines to their patients. Presently, any patient living more than 1 mile away from their doctor’s practice is able to have their medicines dispensed by the doctor, in future it would be the distance from the surgery to the nearest community pharmacy. This could result in the loss of many dispensing practices that provide a vital service in rural communities.

David Davis said:

“This is yet another example of the Government not understanding the needs of our rural communities. In 2006 the 1,170 dispensing practices administered just 7% of prescriptions in England. Many of these doctors used the profit generated from this activity to re-invest in services, for example providing additional healthcare services in remote or under-doctored areas. These changes could put many of those additional services offered by dispensing doctors at risk.

Our dispensing doctors do a great job in rural communities and their services help to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and also ensure a continuity of care. If dispensing doctors are prohibited from dispensing if a pharmacy is close by, there is a risk that many patients from rural villages could lose access to the most convenient service for them, including arrangements in villages for local collection of prescriptions.

Whilst I welcome Government proposals to remove the anomaly that some medicines could be bought at newsagents but were not available from the GP surgery, I cannot support their proposals to change the distance rules governing dispensing doctors.

I have no problem with an extended community role for local pharmacists but this must not come at the expense of our dispensing doctors. Patients in rural areas need a choice, at the moment anyone receiving a prescription from a dispensing doctor can choose to either have it dispensed at the practice or at a nearby pharmacy. I want to see that choice continue for my constituents.”

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