English GP surgeries that dispense drugs will continue to do so after MPs were told there would be "no change" to current arrangements.
There were concerns that a wide-ranging review of the pharmacy sector would lead to a cessation of the practice. But health minister Phil Hope said the strength of responses to the consultation resulted in the decision to allow dispensing doctors to continue with the role.
Mr Hope said: "We are analysing the responses we have received to the consultation on pharmaceutical provision in England and we will be making an announcement on these wider issues as soon as possible in the New Year.
"I'm pleased to announce that there will be no change to the current arrangements for GPs dispensing medicines to their patients."
But David Stout, the NHS Confederation's primary care trust network director, did have reservations concerning the fact that dispensing surgeries do not have the same degree of regulatory scrutiny as pharmacies, or the skills of properly trained pharmacists to draw upon.
Copyright © Press Association 2008
Related MiP article: Dispensing debate drums up drama – is battle about to commence?
Are you pleased by this verdict? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Very pleased! And so are our patients who have been worried about the future of their local practice and convenient dispensing. Patients' choice has at last come to mean something significant" – Name and address withheld
"Mr Stout appears to have fallen into the same trap as the RPSGB earlier this month by equating the service provided by pharmacies with that in dispensaries – they are not the same. A doctor's dispensary provides medication only to their own patients, for whom, in the vast majority of cases, the practice holds the full medical and dispensing records. There is no evidence that dispensing errors are more frequent in a dispensary, nor is doctor dispensing any less safe than that provided by pharmacy. If Mr Stout has such evidence, he should immediately put it into the public domain" – Dr Allan Tennant, Dispensing Doctors' Association