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Keith Ridge: Hub-and-spoke has 'extraordinary capability'

Mr Ridge: Convinced of model’s viability after seeing examples in north west England

England’s chief pharmaceutical officer says he understands why pharmacists are “questioning the evidence base” for the dispensing model

England’s chief pharmaceutical officer has defended the “extraordinary capability” of the hub-and-spoke model to dispense the country’s prescriptions.

Keith Ridge predicted last September that centralised hubs could dispense two-thirds of England’s prescriptions, and he told C+D yesterday (February 1) that he “understood” why pharmacists are questioning the evidence base behind this.

Mr Ridge said his visits to two dispensing hubs in north west England had made him “realise the capability that is there”.

“You can see how this will impact on stock holding [and] free up people to do other things. That to me is entirely what it’s about from a clinical point-of-view,” he said.

The sector also needs to look at making hub facilities "work as efficiently as possible", Mr Ridge added. 

The Department of Health (DH) said last month that it believes encouraging the use of this model is one way to make the sector more "efficient and innovative", in a briefing document explaining the planned 6% cut to pharmacy funding.

Last month, Boots told C+D that it is “too early” for the government to base its pharmacy funding decisions on hub-and-spoke technology.

More news on hub and spoke...

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

NPA: Do not worship ‘false gods’ of hub-and-spoke

Hub and spoke: Where does pharmacy stand? 



London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I'll take contractors moans seriously when workplace conditions improve, or even just an acknowldgement from them.

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

But are u tarring all contractors with the same brush?

U think they are all unprofessional money grabbers?

U think they all pay locums a Mickley mouse rate? And all bully them? And all leave them in unfair unsafe professional conditions?

I can only assume EVERY pharmacy you've EVER worked at had these problems.

Ps. I'm a locum too. I recognise these issues. But it's not from every contractor.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

No it's not every contractor. But a significant minority. It's the same way you could argue what is the fuss about funding because only a minority will have to close. I'm fine and have never returned to any place where the contractor has tried to muck me about and I only have to work for 2 days per week. But i'm baffled as to why support is expected from locums and employees as of right when all these multiple giants and contractors remain mute when work conditions and pay are mentioned.

P M, Community pharmacist

every comment you've made sounds like you've been hurt bad, they sound deep rooted like your in pain for someone who only works 2 days a week you sound angry and spitefull.

i feel sorry for you

is there a way contractors on this forum can help you , why dont you write a piece for the c&d and name and shame these horrible contractors who have twisted you into this hateful fruit.

peace out

Dave Downham, Manager

Totally agree - if your beef is with a minority, then please put it into context rather than having a pop.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

With regards this 6% funding only a fraction of pharmacies will be closed so lets put it into context.

Dave Downham, Manager

You're right, it's a fraction - somewhere between a tenth and a quarter.

P M, Community pharmacist

i hope your re training, you don't sound like your cut out to be a locum.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I hope you're selling up before you're forced to shut.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I hope you're selling up before you're forced to shut.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Shame that there was only enough time for one question from the floor,only one question asked when there a lot more questions to be asked similarly for sue sharpe from the PSNC disappointing part of the conference, went especially to hear from the horse mouth for answers especially when consultation closes on 31st March.

Come away that it's a done deal Keith ridge answer is "tough" deal with.Also for the first time seeing him in person his was the poorest presentation on the day could hardly hear what he was saying, for someone so high up you would think he would have better presentation skills rather then just read from prepared script and PowerPoint just my opinion.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Don't blame Mr Ridge. He'll say whatever he's paid to say. Directorships and MBEs etc.... all await him so he has to behave accordingly.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Why should the government pay contractors more money when they know that they will still operate even if there is a cut in funding...i am waiting for the first pharmacy to close  NOT!!!. Due to the policy of open door immigration to half a billion ppl across europe..there is a surplus of pharmacists who will work for less...LOCUMS WERE GETTING MORE IN 2000 compared to what they earn now....Contractors have now just started to realise whats its like to be in the shoes of corporal jones said in dads army - theey don't like it up em...!!

P M, Community pharmacist

locum rates are only going to get worse, locums need to club together and buy a pharmacy as soon as possible - jobs for locums are going to be scarce .... buy sooner rather than later youll regret it if you dont.. look at house prices ... peace out

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Your suggestion could easily be interpreted as a scam for contractors to dump poor performing pharmacies on desperate ill informed locums. Some contractors should be selling asap before values drop like a stone. Due to experience Employees and locums are ot very trusting of contractors. Thanks for the advice, my mortgage is almsot paid off.

P M, Community pharmacist

fair enough, but dont say i didnt warn you. if you want my advice try and be the master of you own destiny and not be at the beck and call of locum agencies/contractors etc

if you buy your own youll have a job to go to , if you dont 

ill have a cafe latte with extra choc ... peace out


London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Save the coffee for the 100hour pharmacists of which you may be one. Good luck with the petition.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

With regards shutting, people bluffing like the young guy from Kent last week do not help their cause in my opinion. With such concern over government funding and saving money, are there any contractors prepared to shed any light on NP8? Some eye opening prices on there which the public might take an  interest in especially if told it's all in the name of profit for you know who??

I'm sure he wasn't grinning and being quite so vocal in the C&D when the issue of workplace stress and bullying arises on its token annual appearance.

Mr Pharmacist!, Pharmaceutical Adviser

What complete nonsense!! Mr Ridge.  There is NO evidence.  You have always needed to vindicate your choice of PhD in automation and thus doing so, you are putting the entire sector at risk because you want to play out some silly ego game.  Go and find the evidence first and then present it.  Go as far as the whole of the globe and show us how it where it works both economically and operationally.

Both Alistair Burt & Ridge are like a classic 60's comedy act.  This will explode in your face and show you to be cavaliar and irresponsible.  There are a growing group amongst your peers have NO CONFIDENCE in your abilities nor your absurd vision.


Furthermore, dont dress this model up as providing "clinical benefits", thats another bit of nonsense coming from you.  You are driven by cost savings.  Yet you still ask for the sector to INVEST in hub and spoke, whilst you pull funding unilaterally.  WE DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD THAT COMES OUT OF YOURS OR BURTS MOUTH

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Yes , he visited one unit in the Northwest. The one at AAH depot perhaps? They only utise hub and spoke to around 20% i the USA. Private medicine !! The extra savings can only be significant if they reduce the network and worforce. Has Ridge done a risk assessment ?

Mr Pharmacist!, Pharmaceutical Adviser


London Locum, Locum pharmacist

It was destroyed when Employers started to treat employees and locums like sh!t. is the sudden urgency because you're now affected. Better to watch this spectacle unfold than waste energy pi55ing in the wind

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

what goes around comes around dear contractors...!!!!!

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Bit of a darama!!

Tariq Iqbal, Accuracy checking technician

its time keith NHS England paid to close pharmacies not needed as stated but the givernment opened the 100 hours and internet and retail park rules SO DOH and the government should fork out now and not sqeeze pharmacies out.



Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Tariq.......move with the times.............the public demand pharmacies with long opening hours...You wud be first person to complain if your memeber of family required urgent medicines and there was no open to serves their needs....

Paul Mayberry, Community pharmacist

100 Hour pharmacies in England can out of the OFT investigation into community pharmacy, not to patient demand. It was a sop to the supermarkets, who were pressurising government to get NHS contracts. The government didn't realise how entrepreneurial pharmacists are and didn't expect the massive rise in pharmacy numbers. They now realise their mistake and we are all going to suffer as a result


Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

And yet you seem to be advocating a reduction in Pharmacy numbers by this use of a blunt Darwinian tool?

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

What utter nonsense. The public demand. We were open on boxing Day for 2 hours. One customer , One script.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

1. download EPS script.

2. order items.

3. dispense 

4. deliver

Not rocket science...


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