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Keith Ridge backtracks on hub-and-spoke safety claims

England's chief pharmaceutical officer admits it was not appropriate to draw comparisons with dispensing error rates in Sweden

England's chief pharmaceutical officer has u-turned on his claims about the extent to which hub-and-spoke dispensing could reduce error rates.

Keith Ridge apologised for being “inadvertently misleading” when he used an all-party pharmacy group (APPG) event in March to compare the 3% dispensing error rate in England with a "0.00001%" error rate at "large scale automated dispensing facilities in Sweden". 

It was "not appropriate to draw a direct comparison" between the two countries, because of the way these error rates are recorded, Dr Ridge said in a statement published by the APPG yesterday (May 11).

Dr Ridge said he fully acknowledges that the data he quoted was “from only one" Swedish dispensing hub, but retains the "view that automated centralised dispensing... will improve safety and quality of care".

He added that the experiences of using automated dispensing hubs in Sweden “does serve to illustrate some of the potential benefits”. 

Announcing the planned cuts to pharmacy, the Department of Health (DH) said in December that the hub-and-spoke model would reduce costs and free up pharmacists to deliver more clinical services. In February, Dr Ridge claimed the model had “extraordinary capability”.

Read C+D's analysis of the limitations of the hub-and-spoke model here.

Numark's John D'Arcy has told C+D why the business case for hub-and-spoke has still not been made.


Do Keith Ridge's clarifications go far enough? 

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