§ Mr Dykes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what are the reasons for the planned discrepancy in payments to dispensing doctors and pharmacists for dispensing services, in the light of the fact that both are paid on the same drug tariff basis; (2) further to his answer to the hon. Member for Harrow, East on 21 June, whether he will state in percentage net profit terms the profit for dispensing services to be paid to dispensing doctors 89W following the implementation of the ninth review body's recommendations, and that now paid to dispensing pharmacists.
§ Dr. Vaughan
Although both retail pharmacists and dispensing doctors are paid the net ingredient cost of drugs dispensed and a container allowance in accordance with the provisions of the drug tariff, the systems of fees and allowances which they receive in respect of their professional services and other expenses operate within different frameworks. The income doctors receive for dispensing is determined under arrangements which are designed so that this element, together with others, should result in the average net income for general medical practitioners recommended by the review body.
The fees and allowances for retail pharmacists in respect of NHS dispensing distribute the total sums due by way of operating costs and net profit, this latter element being at present 16 per cent. of the total capital employed by pharmacists engaged in such dispensing. An independent panel is at present considering whether that rate on return is appropriate and whether profit should be determined on some basis other than capital employed.
I have no information on which to base a calculation of the dispensing income of doctors in net profit terms.