We submitted our response today to the consultation.
Here are a few quotes from our assessment.
What is clear is that Hub & Spoke is about Repeat Medication and not about Acute prescriptions. Acute prescriptions by their very nature cannot be managed at the Hub and they require a local pharmacy to provide this service.
What the UK needs is a robust pharmacy sector rooted in the local community, freed up to champion health improvements and not tied to the dispensing desk Hub and Spoke delivers the best route to achieve this.
Technology is widely available to support the central processing of prescriptions and compliance aids. Some of the software systems (e.g. PMR) are not suited to a group dynamic and are more branch focused but these will change.
One method would be to allow Small to work as a collective or to buy services from another provider. Assuming that legislation changes then this barrier will be removed but the next barrier is commercial. Why would a Small pharmacy give away its dispensing income to another provider? What does it gain in return?
One of the purposes of the Hub approach is to reduce the cost of dispensing so as long as the practices are “safe” then operators must have flexibility to deliver differing processes.
In the UK models we are suggesting then the Hubs will primarily belong to the existing Large and Mid groups and there will be many Hubs across the country.
A better outcome is 400 – 500 hubs geographically split and owned and operated by the Pharmacy groups you see today. This reduces the risk of service and helps support the existing network and could still be cost effective for the tax payer.