Peak Pharmacy says it is building an ultra-modern headquarters in Derbyshire, which will process millions of prescriptions per year for patients.
A £20m initiative called Project Horizon is expected to begin a new chapter for the Chesterfield-based pharmacy chain. Construction work has started on a new service centre at Markham Vale to handle prescriptions and dispatch medicines for its 150 community pharmacies across England.
Prescriptions will be assembled for individual patients before they are delivered either to local pharmacies for collection the next day or sent directly to patients.
The facility will use state-of-the-art robots and automated systems to support staff handling over 400,000 medicines and other prescribed items every month – that’s 20,000 a day, more than 40 every minute.
Peak Pharmacy’s move is in response to caps in government funding, which mean that pharmacy businesses are having to be more efficient in how they handle prescriptions.
Centralising the process will also free up local pharmacists and Peak Pharmacy staff to provide other services for patients, such as vaccinations, blood pressure checks and healthy living advice.
Managing director Joe Cattee, whose parents Peter and Jane founded Peak Pharmacy in 1981, said: “These are ambitious plans for our company, staff and customers – in the face of a rapidly changing pharmacy landscape.
“This will be transformational for us. We’re investing now to future-proof our business, so that we can continue to provide great local customer service which means so much to us.”
The new hub — due to open in April next year — will house up to 100 staff, with the potential to grow into a 24-hour operation in future.
Peak Pharmacy is planning to be in a position to offer a centralised dispensing service to other independent pharmacies which don’t have the resources to develop their own centralised service, should the legislation allowing this change in the near future.
Cattee added: “We’re inviting other pharmacies to contact us now, so we can show them how our hub can benefit them too.”
The company is investing more than £20m on Project Horizon, a significant proportion of which will be spent on automation technology. Around 40 per cent of all prescriptions can be processed in this way.
The project will replace five smaller existing Peak Pharmacy sites in Derbyshire. The new hub, on the site of the former Coalite coking plant in Bolsover, will cover 113,000 square feet; have a continued focus on sustainability, with energy efficiency measures, electric charge points for colleague and business vehicles, major tree-planting and a bat box; and provide an excellent working environment for staff including a canteen and leisure facilities.