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‘Hub and spoke must benefit patient care’

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While responding to the consultation on hub and spoke dispensing, trade unions for pharmacists have emphasized that the patient safety and care must be the priority in hub and spoke dispensing.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has welcomed the opportunity provided by a change in legislation to enable community pharmacies to make use of hub and spoke dispensing but reaffirmed that patient care must be at the heart of future changes.

With regards to patient safety, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) considers that only Model 1 is appropriate, with manageable risks related to patient safety, and is a model that has the potential to allow the whole sector to benefit fairly.

In its response to the consultation on Hub and Spoke dispensing, PSNC highlighted that Model 2 in the consultation, a hub direct to patient supply of dispensed medicines, raises patient safety issues and it cannot be supported.

RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said: “In all models, patients need to continue to have access to a pharmacist at the time of supply of medicines so they have the opportunity to discuss, ask questions or raise concerns, and receive appropriate information with counselling and advice.

“Different hub and spoke models have been proposed in the consultation and it’s important that the models that are progressed provide benefits for patients and across the sector.

Claire stressed that new national guidance must be developed to clarify arrangements between hub and spoke, and this must be backed up by minimum regulatory standards and clear communications for the public.

“Resilience of the medicines supply chain also needs to be considered if purchasing, dispensing and distribution of medicines happens via a handful of hubs.”

PSNC added, “There are virtually no financial efficiencies envisaged by these – hub and spoke dispensing – proposals, and, if used, are more likely to add cost to the community pharmacy sector.”

“The value to the NHS and society of medicines supply through spoke pharmacies and the value to the public purse of community pharmacy purchasing of generic medicines should also be considered.”

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