The Dispensing Doctors Association (DDA) has expressed concern over the government's pharmacy white paper consultation document, launched earlier this week (27 August 2008).
The DDA described the document, Building on Strengths – delivering the future – proposals for legislative change, as "far-reaching", and criticised it for a seeming reluctance to consider patients' views.
The consultation document discusses a number of changes which the Department of Health (DH) believes are needed in both the medium and longer-term to transform delivery and to align pharmaceutical services within its wider reform programme.
But the DDA says that only one of the four options proposed in the consultation on the future of dispensing practices appears to take into account patients' wishes to receive their medicines at a time and place of their convenience.
"The direction of travel seems at stark odds to the principles of improving patient access and choice," the DDA stated in a press release.
"Of the options proposed, the DDA urges the government to support option one, which maintains the status quo of allowing dispensing doctors to continue in their practice."
According to the DDA, some 3.51 million dispensing patients could be affected, many of whom live in remote areas, are elderly or disabled, or would face difficulties in accessing the essential health services they need if dispensing practice were to disappear. The DDA says the government must listen seriously to these patients' views.