Friday, 22 March 2013

NPA PGD - Consult and Treat

The NPA have recently released their own online PGD system called "Consult and Treat". The system enables patients to have a patient group direction consultation at home (or in the pharmacy) and then come into their nearest participating pharmacy to pick up their medicines. 

The new service has many merits and is certainly worth a look. It comes at a cost of £249 to access the service (£99 per additional pharmacist per pharmacy). This price includes a bundle of 13 PGDs covering 9 conditions together with access to an online portal - on the face of it, quite good value although the pharmacy pays a further per item fee of £2 each time the PGD is used.

Arguably, it might be more useful for pharmacists to be able to obtain the PGDs individually. Testing the water with one or two PGDs rather than having to invest a lump sum in a bundle might prove to be a financially more rewarding.

Here at Patientgroupdirection, we make no secret of the fact that we are biased in favour of our sister PGD service Pharmadoctor. It is broadly comparable to the NPA service but is only paper-based which some people might see as a disadvantage. However it has the big benefit of being free to access. 

Pharmadoctor does not offer all the NPA PGDs but the ones that are the same can be obtained individually either on a pay per use basis ( no need to invest £249) or on  annual unlimited usage ( £49 for one PGD, £99 for three). The cost per item with the pay per use option is £5, considerably more than the £2 that the NPA charge, though only the first 12 consultations are chargeable (max cost per PGD effectively £60 pa.) All prices quoted exclude VAT.

The philosophy behind the Pharmadoctor "free" pay per use PGDs is to encourage independent pharmacists to introduce clinical services whilst keeping their downside to an absolute minimum. Both the NPA and the Pharmadoctor models offer different benefits but can there be any doubt which service comes out on top in purely financial terms?

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