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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 / Equality Act 2010

Pharmacy contractors may be asked to make 'reasonable adjustments' in order to comply with disability discrimination legislation.

From 2005, the funding of the NHS Pharmaceutical Services has included an element to recongise the additional cost of complying with disability legislation, and PSNC provided a briefing on the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Since that guidance was produced, there has been considerable pressure on pharmacists to provide MDS for patients who would find it convenient, but who probably do not fit within the framework for support for people with disabilities.

Updated guidance has been produced (October 2011) - this includes FAQs.

Pharmacy contractors can obtain support by contacting PSNC's Information Team.


 DDA Resource Toolkit

Click on the link below to download the Disability Discrimination Act Resource Toolkit which has been produced by Primary Care Contracting:

Disability Discrimination Act - A Resource Toolkit

Pharmaceutical Journal CPD article - The Disability Discrimination Act (17th Dec 2005)


The DDA 1995 & 28 Day Prescribing 

Many of the queries that PSNC receives about support for patients who have a disability concern instructions given by prescribers on the prescription, to dispense weekly into compliance aids. The NHS Terms of Service do not impose a requirement to dispense into compliance aids or to dispense in instalments (other than instalment prescriptions for the treatment of substance misusers). Therefore a prescription ordering treatment for 28 days should be dispensed on one occasion. It is for the pharmacy contractor to decide whether it is appropriate to dispense into a compliance aid.

If a prescription for 28 days' treatment is issued for a patient who satisfies the DDA criteria, and the pharmacy contractor decides that the adjustment required is a compliance aid, then 4 x 7 day compliance aids or 1 x 28 day compliance aid should be prepared on one occasion.

There is absolutely no obligation under the Terms of Service or within the DDA for the pharmacy to amend what has already been dispensed, mid-way through a course of treatment. Therefore, alterations to treatment should be authorised by the production and dispensing of another prescription, with the previously dispensed items discarded.

If a patient's medicines are dispensed in compliance aids because of an established need under the DDA, and an additional medicine is prescribed during the time that the compliance aid is in use, this should result in a completely new compliance aid being prepared. Dispensing a separate container of the ‘new' medicine to be used in conjunction with the previously supplied compliance aid would cause confusion and could result in the medicines not being taken appropriately.

As stated above, there is no obligation on pharmacy contractors to amend what has already been dispensed, so the prescriber would be obliged to make a DDA adjustment, by issuing a prescription for all the current medicines, so that they can all be dispensed into a new compliance aid. For this reason, prescribers could be advised to issue 7 day prescriptions, if the patient frequently has changes made to prescribed medicines.

Where prescribers order in 28 day (or longer) periods, but recommend that the medicines are dispensed weekly, or in compliance aids (for patients not entitled to this support under the DDA), this should be facilitated by a locally commissioned Enhanced service.


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