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“A story of mistrust, professional rivalry and demarcation disputes”

Dr David Baker presents his retirement speech to the DDA conference

October 28th 2021

Tagged: Conference news

By Ailsa Colquhoun

DDA founding member and former CEO Dr David Baker closed the DDA conference with a “story of mistrust, professional rivalry and demarcation disputes” that has epitomised pharmaceutical services since the eighth century.

In a presentation entitled Doctor Dispensing: Past, Present and Future Dr Baker took the DDA conference through a mix of historical fact and personal reflections dating from the first mention of a pharmacy in Baghdad in 754 AD, through four-way rivalries between the Pepperers, Spicers, Physicians and the Surgeons, into the present day.

As well as presenting a humorous recollection of the quirks of his rural practice during the 1970s, Dr Baker charted the DDA’s successes of the past 30+ years, which include:  the introduction of reserved locations, the DSQS, dispenser training, the DDA Facebook group (now standing at 533 members), successfully defending the GP dispensing service in 2008 and improved rapport with pharmacies.

Looking to the future, he noted that challenges being currently addressed by the DDA currently include: the Electronic Prescription Service, perverse incentives in reimbursement, static DSQS funding and the lack of recognition that the dispensing service subsidises rural practice.

He added that he could foresee the day when technology finally integrates pharmacy and medicine “after nearly two millennia”, with computerisation and mechanisation taking over the act of assembling a medicine. He said: “While doctors will increasingly work with pharmacists as part of a team, the facts remain that patients will continue to need medicines and that good service will continue to be appreciated.”

For this reason, he said that dispensing practices will continue to need a specific voice regardless of how integrated they may have become. He finished by adding “And that voice will be the DDA.”

Dr Baker will retire from the DDA in November.

View the presentation