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Dispex DDA Conference Report


The Dispex and Dispensing Doctor Regional Conferences returned with a bang in early May and were a great

success. This was the first time the regional events had gone down into west Cornwall, and the event on May 7th, in Redruth was the first for 2019.

The delegates enjoyed a number of keynote talks from Dr Philip Koopowitz, DDA Board Member and Alastair

Carmichael M.R.Pharm.S a pharmacist with a lot of experience in the dispensingdoctor arena.

Nearly sixty NHS delegates attended the two days of talks and the evaluation forms show that they were very satisfied with the content and had plenty to take back to their practices.

First of all Dr Koopowitz thanked the sponsors for their support and made it clear that without them, the day delegate rates would have been much higher.

The first seminar was “Back to Basics, Dispensing Margins, Personal Administration and VAT” by Dr Koopowitz, who managed to make a fairly dry subject entertaining and at times amusing. The vagueries of the VAT status of certain items was discussed and some solutions discussed. Dr Koopowitz also went through the Open Exeter Statements with the delegates and the complicated timings of what you get paid and when for your dispensed items. Most of the delegates found this a real eye-opener.

Throughout the day, there were plenty of questions from the audience, which helped to keep everyone up to speed.

Whilst the speakers were delivering quality lectures, the informal setting gave the events more of a personal feel to them.

Next up was Alastair Carmichael, a pharmacist who has audited over 60 dispensing doctor practices in the last few years. He gave the audience plenty to think about; where are your prescriptions going? What is your % gross profit and how does this stack up? His talk “Benchmarking and Dispensary Audits” certainly got the delegates talking.

The morning breaks were tea and coffee with Danish pastries, biscuits and other local delicacies.

Back to work and now Dr Koopowitz took us into the online world of the Dictionary of Medicines and Devices [dm+d] and other ways to improve your purchasing during his talk “Prescribe Smart, Dispense Smart - How To Use the DM+D Browser” This proved a popular introduction to the dm+d and how to get the most out of

this invaluable online tool. You can use it to find out which generic suppliers DO have a reimbursement price

for their products, for example.

It can also be used to find out how many prescription charges are due for a dispensed item and the number of dispensing fees as well; and finally, which items the NHS Business Services define as Personally Administered...

After a satisfying lunch the lectures continued with Alastair Carmichael returning to the stage to give an

informative talk on automation entitled “Automation/Dispensing in a Digital Age”. This talk looked at a number of options and solutions for those busy dispensaries where space is at a premium and staff can sometimes be distracted during the dispensing process, which can slow down the overall dispensing rate.

Alastair reminded the audience that the patients should be treated as customers and valued above all else. Patient satisfaction is paramount in a dispensing practice and dispensing doctors should look to give their patients the best possible dispensing experience. It may be that in some cases the Pharmaself24 Automated Dispensing Machine may be a viable option.

At this point I wanted to make the point that it is time that dispensing practice moved into the 21st Century and that automation via dispensing robots, telephone consultations with patients, where clinically appropriate and other tools such as testing patients when their prescriptions are ready to be collected should also be in place.

The last talk was delivered by Dr Koopowitz, back on stage for the final time of the day to talk about “FMD, EPS, DSQS and SPOT”. The Falsified Medicines Directive [FMD] is the hot topic of the hot topic of the moment and there has been some confusion as to what dispensaries should be doing in order to be compliant

with the new rules. Dr Koopowitz gave us all a much better understanding of what the legislation means and how to react to it. Surgeries really need to find out as much about this as possible.

The next topic was the Electronic Prescription Service [EPS] and how your surgery should be dealing with this.

Dr Koopowitz told us more about the DSQS and there were various discussions about what was an acceptable audit - most discussion was around the fact that this audit had to be unique to a GP surgery which dispensed. Some audits were discussed and the merits of each was explained by Dr Koopowitz.

The final section focused on how to purchase your dispensary medicines as efficiently as possible.

The two days were a resounding success and all the delegates were very pleased that Dispex and the DDA had come to the regions as quite often these types of event are a long way from Cornwall and South Devon!

Dispex and the DDA will be returning to the South West next Spring - watch this space!

There are also two more events booked for 26th June at Gregynog Hall in Powys and the 3rd July at The Catthorpe Manor in Leicestershire.

If you are interested in a Regional Conference coming to your area please email to find out more. If you are interested in booking a place or places for the June and July events please telephone the Dispex Office on 01604 859000 or email