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‘Fair amount’ of Well pharmacies now using hub-and-spoke model

"We still believe central fulfilment is the right thing for our business"
"We still believe central fulfilment is the right thing for our business"

A “fair amount” of Well pharmacies are now operating a hub-and-spoke dispensing model, the multiple has told C+D.

In April 2017, Well chief executive John Nuttall exclusively revealed the multiple’s plan to roll out a hub-and-spoke model across its 780-strong estate.

Well transformation director Chris Ellett told C+D earlier this month (April 11) that “central fulfilment” of prescriptions “is something that we’re trying to do” and the multiple is in the process of “rolling that out”.

Well has made “some changes to [the] technology” it is using for its hub-and-spoke model, “to make sure that it works in the way we want it to”, Mr Ellett explained.

Linking services

Well launched its online order app this month, following the rollout of its online prescription service. The multiple is using the same technology for this service and its hub-and-spoke dispensing.

“Rather than doing [hub and spoke] in isolation,” Well decided to “combine the two things” as it “makes sense to use the same level of automation and fulfilment to [do] both”, Mr Ellett explained.

“The industry has faced this challenge [of hub-and-spoke] and some people debate whether [it] is the right thing to do. We still believe central fulfilment is the right thing for us as a business.”

"Not throwing it into every store"

Talking about the gradual implementation of the hub-and-spoke model across Well’s branches, Mr Ellett said: “The one thing I think we’ve done really well is we’ve kept our technology choice [and] our automation quite simple.”

“We don’t spend years doing it, then throw it all into every store, because…it’s going to fall over and fail,” he added.

“Nobody is going to thank us for that, not least our customers.”

Mr Ellett also said that “from a dispensing perspective, we’ve proven that central fulfilment is safer".

"It's easier to get greater reliability, so all our processes [and] our standards follow exactly what [is] expected within the industry.”

For the latest vacancies at Well Pharmacy visit the C+D Jobs website.

What do you think of the hub-and-spoke model?

patrick rooney, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I like the idea of hub and spoke,perhaps because of my dislike of the repetitive nature of actual dispensing. I prefer to be at the counter ,visible ,and I hope ready and able to answer the many queries that today's society throws up. As you can surmise this is not a very lucrative occupation, but in these days of doctor famine and overworked and understaffed dispensaries it is well received.

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