Community pharmacy negotiators in Scotland will not begin conversations about how new hub and spoke legislation will affect NHS dispensing until the sector has its funding in place for 2024/25, Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has confirmed to The Pharmacist.

Meanwhile, negotiators in Northern Ireland have expressed disappointment that the government has proceeded with the spoke-hub-patient model.

The comments come after the government unveiled plans to allow models of hub and spoke dispensing across different legal entities that could supply medicines both to pharmacies and directly to patients.

Planned changes to legislation will legally enable the moves, but each national government and pharmacy negotiator within the UK will need to work out the implications for NHS dispensing in each country – including any impact on market entry arrangements and reimbursement.

A spokesperson for CPS told The Pharmacist that regulations around the dispensing of NHS prescriptions in Scotland would ‘need to be reviewed in detail to make sure that the now-permitted hub and spoke models fit with strategic priorities’.

‘Specifically, these models cannot undermine market entry or the critical relationship between the spoke and the patient,’ they said.

‘Currently, however, our focus is firmly on negotiations with the Scottish Government to agree a funding package for the community pharmacy network for 2024/25,’ the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, community pharmacy negotiators in Northern Ireland told The Pharmacist that while it was supportive of the proposed spoke-hub-spoke model (Model 1), it was ‘disappointed to see that government is intent on also proceeding with Model 2 (spoke-hub-patient)’.

‘It is also disappointing to see that a Northern Ireland-specific impact assessment has been ruled out,’ the Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland spokesperson told The Pharmacist.

And they said CPNI was taking time to ‘fully peruse’ the government’s consultation outcome.

Meanwhile, Community Pharmacy England (CPE) told The Pharmacist earlier this week that it had already begun working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on how hub and spoke arrangements will work for NHS services in England.

Gordon Hockey, CPE director of legal, said: 'Hub and spoke reform is long overdue and we are pleased to finally get an indication of the government’s plans for this.

'However, much still needs to be done to develop a model that works for community pharmacy, and we are already working with DHSC to consider the implications of these changes for NHS dispensing in England.'

Community Pharmacy Wales was approached for comment.