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NHS: Drugs

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the proposals contained in her Department’s consultation, Arrangements for the remuneration of services relating to appliances within Part IX of the Drug Tariff, would restrict the ability of firms to choose the prices of the services they provide to NHS patients; and if she will make a statement. (140412)

In reviewing Part IX of the Drug Tariff, the Department is trying to ensure that there is transparency for the national health service between the reimbursement price for items and remuneration for services provided; there is none today. The aim is also to ensure that the NHS, and the taxpayer, is getting value for money—and, most importantly, that patient care is maintained or, where appropriate, improved.

This is why there have been two recent consultations. One set out proposals for reimbursement levels for item price—“Arrangements for the reimbursement pricing of stoma and incontinence appliances under Part IX of the Drug Tariff”.

The other, “Arrangements for the remuneration of services relating to appliances within Part IX of the Drug Tariff”, set our proposals relating to service provision; both what that service should be and the remuneration that the NHS would make for such services. Here the intent was to ensure fair remuneration of valued services provided by the pharmacy and appliance contractors. It was also designed to make sure that the services provided by all dispensing contractors are to the same standard no matter where in England a user of appliances may live.

The underlying costs of the services they provide is a commercial matter for providers.

As previously advised, the volume and complexity of the responses to the consultation are such that the Department has decided that it needs more time to analyse the information provided. Consequently, no changes will be implemented in July 2007 as proposed in the consultation documents.