§ Ms Stuart
The Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA) is due to finish processing September dispensed prescriptions by 5 January 2000. At that point the backlog will consist of October and November dispensing-around 88 million prescriptions.
Pharmacies are being reimbursed the appropriate amount by the PPA, but to a later timetable than normal. In the interim, pharmacies are paid an estimated amount each month at the time they would normally have been paid.
The PPA has increased overtime working, recruited additional staff and re-engineered computer systems to speed up the data entry process. All these actions are helping to alleviate the problem, but more needs to be done. We are currently looking at a range of options to enable the PPA to return to its normal timescales of processing prescriptions and to deal with the backlog of prescriptions.