Kate Hoey (Vauxhall, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) pursuant to the answer of 21 June 2012, Official Report, column 1106W, on Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust: pharmacy, whether funding NHS bodies receive from his Department provides each trust with a budget allocation to reimburse actual pharmacy VAT costs incurred; and whether this allocation provides equality to an NHS provider when pharmacy services are market tested;
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS pharmacy services provided within NHS hospitals can compete with private providers who are eligible for a VAT exemption.
Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health), Health; Chelmsford, Conservative)
National health service organisations' VAT costs are recognised in the public funding they receive. The NHS' spending settlement covers any VAT costs it incurs in the same way that it covers any other cost.
The Department currently allocates funding, to all primary care trusts through recurrent revenue allocations. Once allocated, it is for individual primary care trusts to decide how their budgets are invested to meet the health care needs of their local populations, taking account of local and national priorities. This would include the provision of out-patient dispensing, whether provided in-house or outsourced.
Any decision to outsource the out-patient pharmacy service would be a matter for local decision making which would be patient centred.