HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 14 April 2016

Doubts over hub-and-spoke as government fails to think plan through

13 April 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


Pharmacy biz reports that David Reissner, a partner at legal firm Charles Russell Speechlys, stated he had doubts about the UK Government’s claims that the hub-and-spoke dispensing model will generate efficiency savings, due to the lack of evidence provided. He added he had concerns over how this model would work in light of the Falsified Medicines Directive.


Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Written Answers; Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee


Royston Smith (MP): What recent discussions he has had with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee?


Department of Health


Alistair Burt (MP): Community pharmacy is a vital part of the National Health Service and can play an even greater role. In the Spending Review, the Government re-affirmed the need for the NHS to deliver £22 billion in efficiency savings by 2020/21 as set out in the NHS’s own plan, the Five Year Forward View. Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care and has an important contribution to make as the NHS rises to these challenges. The Government believes efficiencies can be made without compromising the quality of services or public access to them. Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive and so we are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared to others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

The Government’s vision is for a more efficient, modern system that will free up pharmacists to spend more time delivering clinical and public health services to the benefit of patients and the public.

We have been in detailed discussions with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) since December 2015 regarding the Government’s proposals for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond, including the proposal for a Pharmacy Access Scheme. In parallel, we also want to hear views on our proposals from across the sector and from patient groups. We published our open letter to the PSNC on 17 December 2015 and on 27 January 2016 we published a set of slides setting out the proposals with a foreword by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer.

We announced on 16 March 2016 that the consultation period was to be extended to allow more time to develop the proposed changes with the PSNC and others. It will now close on 24 May 2016.

Once we have carefully considered the outcomes from the consultation, we are looking to communicate final decisions as soon as possible, so that pharmacy contractors are fully informed some months before the funding reduction starts from October 2016.

The role of the general practice pharmacist is distinct from the role of the pharmacist in a community setting. However, they are synergistic. Pharmacists working in general practice will, in the main, work with patients who have long term conditions to support them with their medicines and self-management of their condition by helping with the development and review of individual care plans. These patients will not generally be those with minor illnesses which can be treated by seeing a pharmacist in a community setting and for whom community pharmacy will remain the first, and most appropriate, option.


Full Coverage

Doubts over hub-and-spoke as government fails to think plan through

13 April 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


David Reissner, a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, told the law practice’s conference in London today that he has doubts over the government’s claim that a hub and spoke dispensing model across pharmacy will generate significant efficiency savings and accused ministers of failing to justify the assertion with evidence.


Criticising the government over its plans for a widespread hub and spoke system, which have been met with a backlash from the community pharmacy profession, Reissner (pictured) said: “One of the key features of the Department of Health’s letter to the PSNC on December 17 last year, my impression is that the government thinks that if all pharmacies used hub and spoke dispensing models you’ll save a lot of money and that will somehow justify (it).


“I haven’t see anything to justify that or if the government has the figures to justify that. Many of you will have your own views about whether it’s realistic to expect community pharmacies to take up hub and spoke dispensing and make large savings. That seems doubtful to me.”


Plans for a hub and spoke model have been driven forward by the health minister Alistair Burt and Keith Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer.


It is not the first time Reissner has criticised the government over its pharmacy efficiency plans. Last month he said ministers had “not satisfactorily addressed” issues over the validity of its consultation on proposals to slash pharmacy funding by £170 million. Eight clients belonging to Charles Russell Speechlys indicated they were prepared to take the government to court over the validity of the consultation, which ends on May 24.


Reissner also said he had concerns about how a hub and spoke dispensing model would work in light of the Falsified Medicines Directive.


Under the Directive pharmacists will be required to scan the barcodes of medicines at the point of dispensing from 2019. Reissner accused the government of failing to thoroughly consider the practicalities of hub and spoke.


“It also impacts on the Falsified Medicines Directive because if a product has to be scanned and decommissioned at the time of supply, does that mean that the hub doesn’t do that even though it’s the hub that is doing the dispensing?” Reissner said.


“I’m not sure how practical that is going to be because if, for example, the hub (has) the original pack in order to make a supply, then the spoke is not going to have the original pack with the barcode. So that at the moment doesn’t look like it’s been thought through by the Department of Health.”

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 14 April 2016

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

Apply to become a Member

Membership of the HDA guarantees your organisation:

  • Access to leading policy and industry forums of debate and discussion
  • Invitations to a range of networking industry events organised through the year, including an Annual Conference and a Business Day
  • Representation on HDA working parties, including the Members’ Liaison Group
  • A daily Political and Media Bulletin and HDA Newsletters
  • Access to HDA policy documents and all sections of the HDA website
  • Branding and marketing opportunities
Apply Now

Already a Member?