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Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the savings which have accrued from the implementation of the new capacity improvement programme prescribing system since its introduction. (274735)

Current planning indicates that the National Health Service Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) prescription processing service will deliver savings in financial year 2009-10 of £16 million compared with the cost of processing prescriptions using the previous system. Over the three financial years 2007-08 to 2009-10 the NHSBSA will accrue aggregate savings in operating costs of £25.8 million as a result of implementing the capacity improvement programme, based on 2006-07 operational cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were employed by the Prescription Pricing Division in (a) 2005 and (b) 2008. (274736)

The total number of people employed by the former Prescription Pricing Authority on 1 April 2005 was 2,782 and by the National Health Service Business Services Authority’s Prescription Pricing Division on 31 March 2008 was 2,492. This decrease partly reflects the incorporation of the former Prescription Pricing Authority into the NHS Business Services Authority during this period.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many compulsory redundancies have been made within the Prescription Pricing Division consequent upon the implementation of the new capacity improvement programme prescribing system. (274737)

Redundancies that occurred as a result of the implementation of the capacity improvement programme did not impact until after March 2008. Since then, there have been 686 redundancies resulting from the implementation of the capacity improvement programme. It is not possible to provide a precise figure on the number of redundancies defined as ‘compulsory’ because of the complex criteria agreed for achieving the reduction.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff have been recruited by the Prescription Pricing Division to implement the new capacity improvement programme prescribing system. [R] (274738)

Around 40 information technology specialists were recruited to assist with the development and implementation of the new capacity improvement programme prescription processing system.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the new capacity improvement programme prescribing system for the Prescription Pricing Division to be fully operational. [R] (274739)

Over 90 per cent. of the prescription processing workload, was processed on the national health service business services authority’s new capacity improvement programme processing system from November 2008. There are plans for prescriptions dispensed by dispensing doctors and prescriptions personally administered by doctors to be processed on the new system from July 2009. Additionally, there are plans for appliance contractors’ dispensing to be processed on the new system from April 2010. In aggregate, this represents approximately 99.5 per cent. of prescription processing work.