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Incontinence: Medical Equipment

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what requirements must be met for a company to receive remuneration for the dispensing of incontinence appliances under a dispensing appliance contractors licence; what recent representations he has received about the issue; and if he will make a statement. (241125)

In order to provide and to be paid for appliances supplied as part of NHS services in England, a contractor should apply to the primary care trust (PCT) in which its premises are situated to be included on that PCT's pharmaceutical list. This also applies if an existing NHS contractor changes ownership. The Secretary of State has delegated the NHS Litigation Authority to hear appeals concerning PCTs' decisions.

Once included on the list, NHS suppliers of appliances must comply with the relevant terms of service. These are set out in Schedule 3 to the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/641), as amended.

Our consultation ‘Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths, Delivering the Future—Proposals for Legislative Change’ included proposals to amend the current legislation concerning entry to the NHS market for suppliers of appliances. That consultation closed on 20 November 2008. We will decide what further steps are appropriate after full consideration of the responses received.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the proposal to require dispensing appliance contractors to provide a home delivery service will apply in circumstances where the contractors would be providing such a service at a financial loss; what recent representations he has received about this issue; and if he will make a statement. (241126)

The last consultation relating to the Part IX review—‘Proposed New Arrangements Under Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the Provision of Stoma and Urology Appliances—and Related Services—in Primary Care’, which closed in September 2008—sought views on a number of proposed new arrangements, including a proposal regarding payment by way of fees for the home delivery of certain items if patients so required and the provision, where necessary, of a reasonable supply of complimentary wipes and disposal bags with certain items.

In responding to the consultation, views were expressed by some dispensing contractors as to the affordability of these proposals. These responses will be taken into account.