Co-operative Pharmacy breaks into secondary care with Doncaster outpatient dispensing contract

Multiples The Co-operative Pharmacy is moving into secondary care, after being awarded a seven-year outpatient dispensing contract with Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The Co-operative Pharmacy is moving into secondary care after being awarded a seven-year outpatient dispensing contract with Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Co-operative Pharmacy will open a purpose-built pharmacy at Doncaster Royal Infirmary in January 2012, to provide a service for hospital outpatients and the A&E department.

It is hoped the new pharmacy will reduce waiting times for outpatients and relieve the hospital pharmacy, allowing it to concentrate on inpatients.

Lloydspharmacy first announced its intention to move into secondary care three years ago and its outpatient dispensing scheme at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, which opened in February last year, was shortlisted for a 2010 C+D Award. Earlier this month, Lloyds announced that its pharmacy at the Royal Cornwall Hospital had significantly cut waiting times.

Boots opened an outpatient dispensing pharmacy at Royal Derby Hospital in July 2010.

Despite the move away from the traditional community setting, the Co-operative Pharmacy outpatient dispensing service would still be focused on providing a community service, said Mandeep Mudhar, head of business development.

"As a community pharmacy, we are committed to delivering a patient-focused service, in addition to helping the hospital make savings without compromising on quality," he said.

Partnering with a foundation trust was a natural alliance, said a Co-operative Pharmacy spokesperson. "They are based on the co-operative model," he said.

"Members of the community become shareholders and have a say in the running of the hospital, so there are a lot of similarities in the whole ethos and the way we operate as a result of that."

Over the next seven years, the Co-operative Pharmacy will be assessing the effectiveness of its move into outpatient dispensing. If it was a success, there would be "lots of scope for development" of dispensing services within the NHS, said the spokesperson.


David Miller, Hospital pharmacist

I would be more interested in a FOI on whether a in-house bid was considered and if not why not. There is clear Traesury guidance that any scheme that is undertaken for tax avoidance in this case VAT is not allowed. So the focus and rhetoric will be on patient benefits like reduced waiting times and improved inpatient care, but who pockets the 20% VAT now ?

Are the costs with this tax excluded lower or higher and if higher it means you and I the individual taxpayer have lost out again to the corporate pharmacy agenda.

A Pothecary, Community pharmacist

I am interested to hear that the Co-op are committed to delivering a patient-focused service in the new hospital setting.

Once again it seems Doncaster is a the forefront of innovation in pharmacy as it was with its Pharmacy Quality Outcomes Framework.

It would be very interesting to see if the QOF results could be obtained under a freedom of information request, and a correlation between quality of pharmacy services in the community and the award of such an important contract was evident.

I always thought that the QOF could be used as a benchmark for future services, as it would make sense to want to work with and engage with quality pharmacies within the community network.

It is a pity that the QOF has now ceased, but never the less, the result would make interesting reading.

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