Centralised ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing could be a reality for community pharmacists within a year following an announcement by the Minister for State and Community Care.

Alistair Burt MP told a packed room at the Pharmacy Show that there will be a government-led consultation into implementing the medicine supply model in independent pharmacies.

Speaking at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Monday (19 October 2015), he said there are plans to consult on changes to medicines legislation to allow for community pharmacists to use the hub-and-spoke method.

No further details are yet confirmed about the consultation which, if successful, could see changes by October 2016.

Burt told the audience at the keynote theatre: “Today, I am pleased to announce that the Government plans to take this forward and will consult on the changes to medicines legislation that are needed so that all community pharmacies can benefit from central dispensing arrangements if they choose.

“Subject to the outcome of this consultation, we are aiming to have the changes in place by October 2016.”

Meanwhile Claire Ward, chair for Pharmacy Voice, fiercely opposed the ‘Amazon-style’ delivery service during her speech and said it could be “disastrous”.

“Nobody should get away with the idea that they could have Amazon-style deliveries to patients,” she said.

Under the hub and spoke model medicines are sorted by robots from a central ‘hub’ and then shipped to patient directly or to their local pharmacy, known as a ‘spoke’.

Under current legislation, both the dispensing hub and the pharmacy have to be owned by the same business, leaving independent pharmacies at a disadvantage to multiples.