Letter: Prescriptions for savings in the NHS

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Audit Commission suggests that GPs could save the NHS pounds 425m if all doctors were to adopt the prescribing practices of the best. But these potential savings are dwarfed by the savings that could flow from an integration of pharmacy into general practice.

NHS dispensing, provided in general practice by technicians and primary care pharmacists, would bring bill integration, one-

stop service, maintenance of surgery dispensary standards, excellent interprofessional communication, adverse reaction reporting, formulary creation and maintenance and budget management. These changes would reduce costs dramatically.

Separating prescribing and dispensing conspicuously fails to make optimal use of the skills of the professions while costing more than half a billion pounds a year. Quality assurance and risk management are both hostages to fortune when an intrinsically unitary process is dispersed through time, place and unconnected agencies.

Yours sincerely,

STEVEN FORD

Haydon Bridge,

Northumberland

8 March

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