Join the DDA or

DH consults on hub and spoke model for pharmacies

Impact assessment quantifies the potential cost savings for pharmacy operators

April 4th 2016

Tagged: DDA news Pharmacy owners' news England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

‘Spoke’ pharmacies using a dispensing hub will reduce pharmacist labour costs by a maximum of 10% – but it could take up to three years to achieve these savings, a Department of Health assessment has revealed.

In a look at the effect of rolling out hub and spoke dispensing to all pharmacies, the DH estimates that between 25% and 50% of independent and small multiple pharmacies will use the system to dispense around 45% of medicines.

Savings in technician labour costs of up to 25% are also said to be possible, but only if pharmacies use dispensing hubs for around 60% of total dispensing volume, and where more than one pharmacist is employed.  

In a consultation running until May 17, respondents are asked to consider various assumptions on which the savings are based, including: that the median average salary of a pharmacist working in community pharmacy is £36,441 and for a pharmacy technician of £19,462; that 30% of dispensing activity is performed by independent pharmacies (with fewer than five pharmacies), 20% by small multiples (between five and 99 pharmacies), and 50% by large multiple pharmacies (100 or more pharmacies).

The proposed new regulations, the Human Medicines (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2016, will come into force on October 1. Other changes included in the legislative change are:

  • allow the price of medicines and a statement on how the costs of medicines are met to be published on dispensing labels
  • clarify the current dispensing label requirements for monitored dosage systems and medicines supplied under patient group directions
  • amend the pharmacists’ exemption in section 10 of the Medicines Act, regarding the preparation and assembly of medicines.

The DDA will be responding to the consultation. Individual responses can be emailed to the DH by clicking here.