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RPS: 'Frustrating' lack of detail about hub-and-spoke plans

Government must be clearer about who is responsible when errors take place in dispensing hubs, says RPS English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley


It is "frustrating" that the government has failed to produce the data it used to predict the benefits of hub-and-spoke dispensing, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

The government used a consultation document last month to predict that allowing independents to operate this model would allow pharmacies to cut their pharmacist labour costs by 10%.

But the consultation had not made it clear where ultimate responsibility for checking prescriptions under the hub-and-spoke model would lie, RPS English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley told C+D on Tuesday (April 5).

The sector needs “absolute crystal clarity” on this issue, so that pharmacists working in 'spoke' pharmacies are not penalised for mistakes made in a hub, she stressed.

Ms Gidley also said it is “difficult to know” whether the government’s assertion that at least 40-70% of medicines would still have to be assembled in spoke pharmacies is accurate, even if a hub-and-spoke model were widely adopted. This would depend on a number of factors, such as where the pharmacy is situated, she added.

“Far-reaching consequences”

Pharmacy Voice told C+D it is still looking at the government’s proposals, but stressed that they will have “far-reaching consequences” for the sector.

The government’s plans to “level the playing field” by introducing a widespread hub-and-spoke system is an “important issue…on face value”, it said.

The government also used its consultation document to reaffirm its proposal to publish “indicative medicine costs to the NHS” on packs worth more than £20. Pharmacy Voice said these proposals are of equal importance to the hub-and-spoke plans, and the government has “much work to do” on the details of this.

Pharmacy Voice will consult with its members to decide how it will respond to the consultation, it added.

Read C+D's analysis of the hub-and-spoke plans

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