§ Mr. Marland
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current professional fee paid to doctors and pharmacists, respectively, for dispensing prescriptions; and if he will explain any difference.
§ Dr. Vaughan
There is a range of professional fees paid to doctors for dispensing NHS prescriptions. Within this range the main source of doctors' remuneration derives from dispensing drugs, for which the basic fee per prescription is currently 24p. Separate fees are also 695W paid for dispening prescriptions related to certain appliances and to preparations extemporaneously dispensed. These range from 3p to 120p. The basic fees payable are also adjusted by amounts varying between plus and minus 5p on a sliding scale related to the number of prescriptions dispensed per month. A separate flat rate fee of 12p is paid additionally where the preparation dispensed is a controlled drug. Finally, the total sum for fees is currently increased by a supplementary payment of 3.6p per prescription. A revision of the fees following the ninth report of the review body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration is at present under discussion with the medical profession.
The basic fee paid to retail pharmacists for dispensing an NHS prescription is 24½p. Separate fees, within the same range as for doctors, are also paid for dispensing prescriptions relating to certain appliances, to prescriptions extemporaneously dispensed and to controlled drugs. In addition, fees ranging from 100p to 400p per prescription form are payable for urgent prescriptions dispensed outside normal opening hours.
For an explanation of the difference between the basic fees paid to doctors and pharmacists, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes) on 23 July.—[Vol. 971, c.88.]