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Practice Payment and dispensing staff levels

Information on Practice Payments is included in Part VIA of the Drug Tariff.

Pharmacies must declare the total number of hours that staff members supporting the dispensing process work in an average week on the WP34C Submission Form. If a pharmacy declares less than the minimum staffing levels outlined in Part VIA of the Tariff, they will only receive the level of the Practice Payment for the number of items indicated by their actual level of staffing. If no declaration is made, the Practice Payment will be paid at the minimum level.
The total number of hours declared should be rounded to the nearest whole number; if the number is 0.5 hours or less, round down and if the number is more than 0.5 hours, round up. If the number of dispensing staff hours per week alters in the course of the month for which the declaration is being made, for example because a brand new post is established, the lowest number should be declared. The declaration should include all staff members involved in the dispensing process, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, dispensing/pharmacy assistants and medicines counter assistants.

The ‘dispensing process’ includes:
  • the taking in and issuing of prescriptions;
  • dispensing prescriptions;
  • clinical assessment of prescriptions and accuracy check of dispensed items;
  • stock ordering and putting stock away;
  • preparation and assembly of medicinal products;
  • resolving queries related to prescriptions;
  • counselling patients on their prescriptions, and
  • carrying out the administration necessary for the payment of prescriptions (e.g. endorsing and filing prescriptions);
Where a staff member has multiple roles (for example, a medicines counter assistant who spends 50% of their time taking in prescriptions and 50% of their time undertaking general tasks on the retail side of the pharmacy business), only the number of hours spent supporting the dispensing process may be counted in the staffing declaration.
In the particular weeks covered by the declaration, a member of staff may have been absent for example on annual leave, or a period of sickness absence. In these circumstances the staff member may still be included in the declaration, as this is a record of the normal staffing levels for the pharmacy. If a member of staff leaves and the pharmacy is actively engaged in arranging a replacement for the post, that post may similarly be included in the declaration. However Health Boards. when monitoring staffing levels, will need to be satisfied that the levels declared do reflect the normal staffing levels of the pharmacy, and if a staff member is not replaced for a prolonged period Health Boards may decline to accept that post as counting toward the pharmacy’s staffing level. Health Boards may wish to look at payroll and other evidence of employment if it has concerns about the validity of the declaration.