Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
Applications to provide NHS Pharmaceutical Services and Dispensing GP Practices - A Consultation
It is almost three years since the Scottish Parliament last amended the Regulations which govern pharmacy applications in Scotland.
In April 2011, the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations (SSI 2011/32) came into force. In particular, these amended Regulations placed new duties on NHS Boards to recognise GP dispensing practices as key stakeholders in the pharmacy application process in remote, rural and island communities.
NHS Boards are now required to notify dispensing GP practices of any application to open a pharmacy if the proposed pharmacy is in, or near, a location where a GP practice is currently providing a dispensing service to its patients.
Dispensing GP practices affected by a pharmacy application are now entitled to send written notice of interest or comments through their Area Medical Committee (AMC) to the NHS Board. In addition, NHS Boards shall appoint an additional member to the NHS Board's Pharmacy Practice Committee from persons nominated by the AMC where the pharmacy application directly affects a dispensing GP practice. This is to ensure appropriate representation on the Committee and that consideration of the issues regarding the affected dispensing GP practices are taken into account in the overall process.
The principal purpose of this consultation is to ensure that the regulatory framework for pharmacy applications and related processes, and the powers which allow NHS Boards to put in place arrangements with GP practices to dispense medicines to their patients, remain fit for purpose.
That is why I announced an immediate review of these regulatory frameworks to help ensure that they continue to best meet the health needs of rural communities. This consultation marks the next stage of that review.
This consultation also explores improvements in the pharmacy application process more generally. This includes improvements in the public consultation process for both the applicant and the NHS Board; improvements in engagement of the community; and increased transparency and improvements in the overall decision-making process.
I hope that you will take this opportunity to carefully consider these proposals. The issues are complex and reach further than the circumstances in which a GP practice should or should not continue to dispense to its patients.
I look forward to hearing your views on the issues and proposals discussed in this consultation.
Applications to provide NHS Pharmaceutical Services
A consultation on the Control of Entry Arrangements and GP Dispensing Practices
Email: Brian O'Donnell