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6 July 2017

NHS Grampian Board approve dispensing recommendations for six GP practices

The NHS Grampian Board has today (6 July 2017) approved the recommendations of the Review Group regarding dispensing at Auchenblae, Gardenstown, Portlethen, Rhynie, Skene and Udny Station (part of Scotstown Medical Group) GP practices.
The term "serious difficulty" is not defined, but the Board considered the distance to the nearest community pharmacy, issues of communication and other exceptional circumstances. The Board can only legally require a practice to dispense for patients who have a "serious difficulty" in accessing prescribed medicines and appliances from a pharmacy. 
Portlethen and Skene practices will no longer be required to dispense. Ongoing issues at Gardenstown practice mean there is not a dispensing service there at present, therefore the Review Group did not made a recommendation.
The Board has approved the recommendation for Auchenblae, Rhynie and Udny Station practices to dispense to patients who have serious difficulty in accessing prescribed medicines and appliances from a pharmacy.
Regarding the Udny Station practice, the Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership will review the AB23 area over the next six months. They will report back to the Board at a later date to determine if there are patients living there who would have serious difficulty obtaining their medicines elsewhere. This will run in parallel with the agreed 12 month implementation of the dispensing recommendations as agreed by the Board today.
Today's decision follows a public consultation, which was the largest ever undertaken by NHS Grampian, after a review of dispensing by the Haddo Medical Group in 2015. Around 1,300 people responded to the public consultation, with 200 attending public drop-in sessions, and more than 80 contributions or submissions to the review group.
NHS Grampian representation was present at meetings organised by Community Councils. Representatives from groups, organisations, elected public representatives and independent contractors to the NHS, such as community pharmacies or medical practices, were also invited to respond during the consultation to the question: 
"If dispensing of medicines was not available at a specific GP practice in this review, do you think that patients who currently get, or are eligible to get, their medicines from these practices will have serious difficulty in getting their dispensed medicines from a community pharmacy?" 
If the answer was yes, respondents were asked to describe what these difficulties would be and to whom they would apply.
The review only considered the ability of these practices to dispense and was not a review into the viability or future of any of these practices. The Review Group considered each GP practice as a separate entity.
Meanwhile the NHS Grampian Board approved the building and commissioning of the Kincardine (Stonehaven) Renal Unit, which will deliver a satellite renal service to the community within the Kincardine area.

Due to the complexity of the consultation, NHS Grampian produced an 'FAQ' document, prior to the board meeting on 6 July, to help answer any questions. It can be viewed at http://www.nhsgrampian.org/nhsgrampian/InvolvingYou.jsp?pContentID=9784&p_applic=CCC&p_service=Content.show&