First automated dispensing hub for independents

HubRx today announced its plans for a multi-million pound investment in a facility that will allow independent community pharmacies to benefit from ‘hub and spoke’ technologies – and extend their clinical role as part of the long-term NHS plan.

Led by a team with decades of experience in pharmacy and digital healthcare, HubRx is set to create the UK’s first automated dispensing hub, purpose built for independently owned community pharmacies. This will free up time for pharmacies to focus on providing both NHS and private clinical services to patients, such as the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, extension of NMS and other planned services.

The move comes as local pharmacies take on an expanded role in the community during the coronavirus outbreak. As GP surgeries struggle to stay open and cope with the wave of coronavirus infections, many pharmacists have become the first port of call for worried patients seeking trusted health advice – while also coping with a huge increase in prescriptions.

HubRx has signed a commercial agreement with Clanwilliam Health who provide RxWeb PMR system, the UK’s only web-based Patient Medical Record (PMR) system. Currently used by over 1800 pharmacies across the UK, RxWeb’s system flexibility and advanced functionality made it a natural fit for HubRx. Both systems will be integrated to create processes that facilitate the safe and seamless transfer of prescriptions to the hub and then delivery back to the pharmacy.

By reducing the workload of repeat prescription dispensing, the hub will give pharmacists more time to deliver more profitable clinical services to patients. Importantly, independent pharmacists will remain in control of the patient relationship throughout the dispensing process.

HubRx CEO Daniel Lee said:
“For the first time ever, due to new legislation currently going through parliament, the UK’s 4,461 independents will be able to realise the time-saving benefits of automated dispensing and create a level playing field with the big multiple pharmacies already benefitting from this. In a post- COVID world, pharmacists will expect the significant clinical and advisory role they have played during this crisis to continue – and so will their patients.

Our hub will give pharmacies the option to outsource up to 70% of their dispensing workload, freeing them up to expand their clinical service role in the community. It is designed to support the transformation of independents as they adapt to the new Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework – and ensure that the patient relationship remains with the local pharmacy.”

Daniel, a qualified pharmacist, worked in his family’s independent pharmacy business in Leeds before founding Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest NHS pharmacy. He is joined at HubRx by Chairman Sean Riddell, who is the former CEO of EMIS Group plc and led its highly successful flotation on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Joining HubRx as a non-executive director is Mike Hewitson. A staunch defender of independent pharmacy, he was a leading member of the National Pharmacy Association board for eight years, and a board member of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee for three. Mike was instrumental in reviewing the proposed hub and spoke legislation for the NPA.

He said:
“A service like HubRx would have helped independent community pharmacy tremendously during this pandemic, and it will be badly needed long after the outbreak is over. The presence and reliability of local pharmacies has been vital for patients in these last few months. HubRx will help by filling prescriptions reliably and safely while releasing us to take on more of the clinical role we have been trained for.

For me, joining HubRx is an opportunity to show independent pharmacies how technology can work for us. The team have a real desire to help independents compete, transform and thrive in a changing world – and understand the values which make independent pharmacy so important to us and our communities. This is needed now, more than ever – and we need to set the standards as the industry evolves.”

Clanwilliam Health Managing Director Eileen Byrne added:
“We are delighted to partner with HubRx to allow our RxWeb PMR users additional flexibility to outsource their dispensing workload. As the UK’s only web based PMR system we pride ourselves on providing pharmacists with a digital foundation for their pharmacy and we are always willing to work with innovative partners such as HubRx to add value for RxWeb users. We are excited to see the benefits this partnership will offer our customers.”

The facility will be designed with real-time stock information and support the highest clinical accuracy and safety standards. It will use the latest software to drive operational efficiency within the pharmacy.