HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 8 February 2016

Review shows how NHS hospitals can save money and improve care

5 February 2016,, Department of Health


Having identified a large range of variations across the NHS, the Lord Carter review published on Friday developed a “model hospital” which will advise NHS trusts on the most efficient allocation of resources to save hospitals £5 billion a year by 2020.


The full report is available here.


The importance of the supply chain is particularly emphasised in the sections below (p. 30-35):


  • Hospital pharmacy infrastructure services


On average, 55% of pharmacy staff time (43% of costs) is spent on infrastructure services, with the largest element being supply chain activities (at 45% of staff time) encompassing the buying, making and supplying of medicines. Contracting for medicines takes place at national and regional levels only; however, we found that not all trusts make best use of these arrangements. We believe the nationally coordinated approach is well organised and is most likely achieving good prices, although this needs to be checked. In contrast, many trusts still have local pharmacy buying of ces, stores and distribution services and we found significant variation in their efficiency, for example, with the adoption of e-ordering some trusts are still placing orders via telephone or fax. More efficient trusts, such as Plymouth make good use of e-ordering and invoicing facilities to reduce staff time in both pharmacy and finance departments.


We also found significant variation in medicines stockholding. Data for 120 acute trusts showed stockholding variance of between 11 and 36 days, with the average being 20 days. We estimate at 20 days, NHS trusts are holding £200m of stock at any one time. In addition, around 50% of medicines deliveries come from a small number of wholesalers, but the other 50% come direct from manufacturers. This can mean that an acute trust will receive up to 30 medicines deliveries every day which is time consuming for staff. We also learnt that some trusts have outsourced out-patient dispensing to community pharmacy providers. This is cost effective and frees up clinical pharmacy staff to focus on clinical services.


  • We believe there is scope for improving supply chain management, though more effective collaboration at local, regional and national levels. Some trusts have developed more efficient centralised arrangements and some are working with pharmacy wholesalers to consolidate buying and reduce the number of daily medicines deliveries to hospitals. Closer working with manufacturers and pharmacy wholesalers, should lead to consolidation of the medicines supply chain, making full use of e-ordering and invoicing and aggregating and rationalising deliveries – preferably ready for use and to the ward. This would significantly reduce the numbers of daily deliveries to hospitals to less than five, thereby reducing stock holding (a reduction to 15 days would generate a £50 million one-off saving to the NHS in-year), as well as reducing pharmacy staff supply chain costs. We also believe that buying and supply services do not need to be delivered by NHS employed staff.


  • Recommendation 3

g)  consolidating medicines stock-holding and modernising the supply chain to aggregate and rationalise deliveries to reduce stock-holding days from 20 to 15, deliveries to less than 5 per day and ensuring 90% of orders and invoices are sent and processed electronically.


Pharmacy Voice and ABPI both welcomed the publication of the report.


APPG: Funding cuts show ‘worrying’ lack of planning

5 February 2016, C&D, Beth Kennedy


Speaking at the launch of the Healthcare Distribution Association in the House of Parliament, Kevin Barron stated that the rationale behind the announced 6% cut to pharmacy funding must be “seriously questioned”.


Kevin Barron’s statement was also reported by The Pharmaceutical Journal.


British wholesalers association relaunches as Healthcare Distribution Association UK

5 February 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal


The Pharmaceutical Journal reported on the launch of the Healthcare Distribution Association in the House of Parliament, highlighting the changing nature of the industry.


Parliamentary Coverage


There is no Parliamentary coverage today.


Full Coverage

Treasury driving 6% pharmacy cuts, warns All Party Pharmacy Group

5 February 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal


The ‘worrying’ 6% cut to community pharmacy is being motivated by the Treasury rather than being about better planning for the sector, Sir Kevin Barron, the chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, has warned


Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, told the HDA UK parliamentary reception the planning around the community pharmacy cuts must be “seriously questioned”


The ‘worrying’ 6% cut to community pharmacy funding is being motivated by the Treasury rather than being about better planning for the sector, Sir Kevin Barron, the chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, has warned.


Speaking at a parliamentary reception on 3 February 2016 to mark the evolution of the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) to the Healthcare Distribution Association UK, Barron said that the entire cross party group had been “shocked” by the letter in December 2015 announcing the cut.


“We met the minister about the proposals and we will be taking further evidence on the implications to all of the pharmacy sector in terms of this change in the funding of pharmacy that is going to take place later this year. It is potentially very worrying,” he said.


What was particularly concerning was that it was being done at the “motivation of the Treasury” rather than through better planning of the pharmacy sector. “When you have something like the Treasury driving this, the issue of planning must be seriously questioned,” he said.


“If we are going to plan services for the 21st century fit for the needs of patients now and taking into account how old this generation is going to be and everything else, we need it to be more than taking a 6% cut out mid-year.”


British wholesalers association relaunches as Healthcare Distribution Association UK

5 February 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal


The British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) has rebranded itself the Healthcare Distribution Association UK to reflect the evolving nature of the healthcare supply chain and the services provided by its members.


The organisation decided that change was needed because its members, which distribute over 92% of NHS medicines, no longer provide only medicines wholesaling services to community pharmacies, hospitals and dispensing doctors – they now provide more comprehensive healthcare services including medicines supply direct to patients’ homes.


The relaunch took place at a parliamentary reception, hosted by MP Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group, and was attended by pharmaceutical industry representatives, and regulator and government officials.


The organisation, which can trace its history back to the 19th century, has gone through several iterations, becoming the BAPW in 1991. Steve Anderson, BAPW chair and operations director at Celesio Group (UK), told guests at the reception that the pressure to provide ever higher quality at lower costs plus patient expectations for healthcare to be delivered at a time and place that is convenient to them was driving innovation and change, a shift away from the traditional wholesale model and a consolidation of our industry.


“As this change continues, the BAPW must of course change,” he explained. “Our new association the HDA wants to reflect these changes as wholesalers and distributors are becoming much more integrated healthcare service providers, and the strong growth in homecare also needs to be recognised by the association.”

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 8 February 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?