2.1 The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2009 (amended by SSI 2011/32) provide the legal framework for applications to open new community pharmacies (known as "control of entry"), while the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Section 17C Agreements) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 give Health Boards the power to require GP practices in some remote and rural areas (that is, where there is no local community pharmacy) to dispense medicines to their patients.
2.2 Over 100 GP practices across Scotland currently receive remuneration for the delivery of primary medical services and also funding for the dispensing of medicines to their patients. These are more commonly known as GP dispensing practices. Over recent years, some had expressed concern that future successful pharmacy applications in their areas could destabilise local services provided by the GP practices concerned, and, ultimately, the long term sustainability of the practices themselves.
2.3 The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring access to NHS pharmaceutical and primary medical services to all people of Scotland, whilst supporting the viability of remote and rural GP practices. In 2013 the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing announced an immediate review of the existing regulations on the control of entry to ensure they are fit for current and future purpose.
2.4 A consultation paper on the Control of Entry Arrangements and Dispensing GP Practices was published on 12 December 2013 and closed on 20 February 2014. The document sought views on issues relating to control of entry, on dispensing GP practice processes and on wider pharmacy application procedures. The responses to the consultation will inform amendments to the associated regulations to be laid before the Scottish Parliament.
2.5 This report presents the analysis of views contained in the responses. These responses have been made publicly available on the Scottish Government website unless the respondent has specifically requested otherwise.
2.6 The Scottish Government received 85 responses to the consultation from organisations and individuals. Table 2.1 overleaf shows the distribution of responses by category of respondent. A full list of the organisations who responded is in Annex 1.
2.7 Individuals formed the largest category of respondent, accounting for 40% of responses. Amongst the individuals were current and retired professionals associated with the NHS or pharmaceutical services.
Table 2.1: Distribution of responses by category of respondent
|NHS Board committees||13||15|
|Representative or professional bodies||8||9|
|NHS support organisations||2||2|
2.8 Responses were submitted by electronic means and in hard copy. Most used the response pro-forma provided, but a few submitted views in free- text format. The views contained in all submissions were amalgamated into one electronic spreadsheet to aid analysis. The consultation paper consisted of 11 questions. Each question contained a closed element (Yes/No box) in addition to inviting commentary on the reasoning behind the Yes/No response.
2.9 The consultation was remarkable in that each question attracted a response from at least 90% of respondents. It was also unusual in the relatively high proportion of 14% of respondents (organisations and individuals) who do not wish their response to be made public.
Report of findings
2.10 The findings are presented two parts. Part 1 reports respondents' views on three proposals relating to control of entry (pharmacy applications) and dispensing GP practices. Part 2 presents respondents' views on aspects of the wider pharmacy application processes.
2.11 Respondent categories have been abbreviated in the report as follows:
|NHS Board committees||HBC|
|Representative or professional bodies||Rep/Prof|
|NHS Support organisations||Support|
Email: Elaine Muirhead