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All Day Lewis pharmacies to use hub-and-spoke by 2018

Jay Patel: Dispensing hubs will not be cheaper than current model

Between 35 and 40 Day Lewis branches currently receive medicines from a central hub, says chief information officer Jay Patel

Day Lewis plans to roll out a hub-and-spoke dispensing model to all its pharmacies by 2018, C+D has learned.

The chain launched a pilot to dispense medicines from a central hub to a "proportion” of its branches in July 2014, and is awaiting “enhancements in PMR technology” before it can roll out the model across its entire network “by 2017-18”, chief information officer Jay Patel told C+D in an exclusive interview last week (November 26).

Between 35 and 40 Day Lewis pharmacies – 15% of the total network – currently use this model, and Mr Patel said the business is “looking at expanding the central hub through automation”.  

Mr Patel agreed with Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharpe’s comment last month that dispensing hubs will not necessarily be cheaper. “It’s not going to save cost because the goods still need to be physically moved around,” he said.

Time to spend with patients

Instead, the model is intended to free up “pharmacy teams to really spend time with patients”, Mr Patel stressed.

“[Teams] aren’t able to be healthy living champions if they’re dispensing and chasing up orders. But they can promote that [healthy living] role if they have got the dispensing already undertaken for them,” he said.

Day Lewis is concerned that “such a big change in dispensing operations" could cause "unintended consequences” for the morale of its pharmacy teams, Mr Patel said. The business is “investing time...maximising the positive attributes" of the model by explaining how it will "allow teams to spend time with patients”, he added.

England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge suggested in September that hubs could deal with two thirds of the country’s prescriptions, but National Pharmacy Association chair Ian Strachan warned last week that the “general rollout” of this model could bring “serious risks to the pharmacy network”.


Do you think the hub-and-spoke model could benefit the sector?

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John Willetts, Locum pharmacist

Pharmacists are unfairly targeting DL over this. Lloyds started this game and Boots naturally followed. Obviously chains like DL have to join in to remain financially competitive for the reasons outlined in other comments. The system isn't working that well just now because electronic prescribing has raised patients expectations to receive their medicines quicker than the system can cope with. A word of warning to colleagues. You need to check all the prescriptions that come back from H & S . If an error has been made (even though you didn't make it and it was dispensed miles away) you are the RP . As such you will be held responsible for that error! Some years ago, a pharmacist correctly dealt with an owing item from a previous day and handed out a bag of medicines to a patient. Unfortunately an error had been made and even though he had not assembled, dispensed and checked yesterday's items, he/she was held accountable for that error! Apparently he shd have checked all the items from the previous day as well. This is, in effect, the same situation as H & S.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Mr D'Arcy at the NPA calls it more 'headroom' for the pharmacist. Absolute bs is the more common, non-boardroom term. And sorry I forgot to add that there are very exciting terms ahead for community pharmacists.

Colin Pickles, Community pharmacist

Surely the hub pharmacy will be too remote to dispense urgent scripts and make emergency supplies without inconveniencing the patient? Presumably the spoke pharmacies will still need to keep the same levels of stock to cater for these supplies. Will the NHS support the less efficient smaller independent local pharmacies and pay to keep adequate stock/ staffing levels in the spoke pharmacies? I don't think so !

dave k, Community pharmacist

course its going to save money. If you really wanted to free pharmacist time then you can invest in more staffing hours in each store rather then sending patient medicines half way around the country.

Jay Badenhorst, Superintendent Pharmacist

Jay I was wondering if you could let us know how this model will influence your second pharmacist model?

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

Free up pharmacy teams......for the dole.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

“It’s not going to save cost because the goods still need to be physically moved around,” ...then whats the point in doing it? Of course its going to save costs particularly staffing, no 2nd pharmacists or ACTs in branches. Smaller/fewer premises? Huge cost savings potentially. As for freeing up time for 'healthy living advice', most patients simply aren't interested in this and few will take any notice of advice given. I hope Day Lewis fall flat on their face with this because if successful cue many hundreds if not thousands of redundancies throughout the profession.

With this kind of attitude you should be the first one to go

Niall Murray, Superintendent

Hi wonderfully anonymised sdfgdheduy non healthcare prof. Chris pharmacist is correct and your comment on attitude is frankly bereft of logic. You have got to be either oblivious of the wider economy or a stauch proponent of the neo-liberal crusade to demonise Chris this way. It really is lewis along with all health corporations are profit and finance driven with no room for professional care (apart from sweet tokenisms & idle rhetoric there to ideologically dumb us down). Pharmacy is dying and the remnants and there will be remnants will concentrate in the hands of the corporation elite and those who care least about people care. The 2012 health & social care bill which was a ludicrously pseudodemocratic piece of legislation is alive today and starving the real economy of the health agenda systematically. This is one of the current enablers for the behaviurs we see in day lewis. They know what is happening and are acting as trade protectionists with one objective to distribute the wealth awy from the public sphere into their hands. Pharmacy is languishing like never before and comments from Chris are well founded, insightful, accurate, fair, representative and seem to be coming from a person thinking as an active economic citizen. Profit should be the result not the starting block.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Oh yeah ? Please elaborate...

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

The dispensing fees will be cut, just watch this space........

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

But before that the Contractors will cut pharmacist salaries. Those higher up the food chain never suffer. Only the little people do.

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