Dispensing GPs provide primary healthcare to over 8.7 million UK rural patients. Nearly 3.6 million of these patients live remotely from a community pharmacy. At the patient’s request, dispensing doctors are allowed to dispense the medicines they prescribe for these patients. Only certain patients are eligible to receive dispensing services from a dispensing doctor; in total around 7% of all prescription items are issued via a dispensing doctor.

The legislation for dispensing fee payments is set out in the annual Statement of Financial Entitlements. There are, however, different arrangements for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although full dispensing practices are relatively uncommon, most practices nowadays will dispense certain prescribed drugs and appliances to their patients. In general, the financial principles of dispensing practices and dispensing a small number of drugs (such as Zoladex or Eprex) are very similar, although in the dispensing practice the amount of money involved will be much greater.

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