The Department of Health NI (DoH) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) have launched the much-anticipated consultation that seeks to change the law to allow all community pharmacies to use hub-and-spoke (H&S) dispensing models. Pharmacy Forum NI staff have been monitoring developments on this front since 2021 and took part in a series of stakeholder engagement sessions organised by DH aimed at understanding what issues needed addressing and to inform the basis of the 2022 H&S consultation.

Currently H&S dispensing is only possible when the hub pharmacy forms part of the same retail business as the spoke pharmacy. This consultation seeks views and comments on proposals to facilitate it between pharmacies belonging to different legal entities. In addition, it is proposing to enable dispensing doctors access to hub pharmacies. Legislative changes will be required to deliver the proposals, including amendments to the Medicines Act 1968 and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

The consultation document has considered key points raised by stakeholders during the 2021 engagement sessions including:

  • Responsibilities, patient safety and accountability
  • Business impact
  • Different H&S models
  • Patient choice, transparency and information
  • Market entry and competition concerns

Pharmacy Forum NI consultation response development

Pharmacy Forum NI’s response to the consultation will be developed and led by the Forum’s Policy & Practice Committee (PPC) chaired by Forum Vice-Chair Dr Oisín Kavanagh in collaboration with Forum Board members. If you are a NI registered pharmacist and would like to contribute input to the Forum’s response, please get in touch. The consultation closes 8 June 2022.