NEC BIRMINGHAM
13-14 OCTOBER 2024

11 Jun 2024

Government confirms plans to make 'hub and spoke' dispensing models available across all local pharmacies

Government confirms plans to make 'hub and spoke' dispensing models available across all local pharmacies

On 13 May, the government confirmed plans to make 'hub and spoke' dispensing models available to all local pharmacies, aiming to enhance efficiency and allow more time for complex dispensing and clinical care. 

This initiative is part of efforts to streamline patient access to medicines and treatments within the NHS.  

Currently, larger pharmacy chains benefit from the efficiencies and cost savings associated with centralising the dispensing of medicines at a larger 'hub'. However, smaller independent pharmacies are restricted by legal limitations from adopting this model, resulting in increased costs and workload. 

The changes announced would make the hub and spoke model universally available, allowing pharmacies belonging to different legal entities to use hubs operated by other companies. The idea is that this will create a level playing field between smaller pharmacies and larger chains, and that these changes will allow pharmacists to dispense medicines more efficiently, providing them with more time to engage with patients and deliver clinical services. 

Primary Care Minister Andrea Leadsom commented: 

“We’re continuing our drive to make access to medicines and care faster, simpler, and fairer for all patients, including at local pharmacies. 

“These proposals will level the playing field and enable our hardworking community pharmacies to benefit from centralised dispensing. 

“It will also free up highly skilled pharmacists from back-office duties to deliver patient-facing services, including Pharmacy First and contraception consultations, supply medicines and provide advice.” 

A government consultation on the wider rollout of the hub and spoke model in 2022 received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and the announcement said that subject to Parliamentary approval, all pharmacies will have the option of two hub and spoke models from 2025. Although with the UK parliament being prorogued just 11 days later ahead of the 4 July election, the exact timelines remain to be seen. 

This proposed legislation, a commitment under the primary care recovery plan, is the latest initiative aimed at improving the efficiency of pharmacy services across the country. Another – the granting of greater powers to pharmacy technicians – made it through the pre-election wash up, meaning that pharmacy technicians can supply prescription-only medicine using a patient group direction from 26 June. 

Further information: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-make-medicines-dispensing-more-efficient 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-powers-for-dental-and-pharmacy-staff-to-free-up-appointments 

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