Department of Health and Social Care
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Government to make medicines dispensing more efficient

The changes will allow pharmacists to spend more time with patients, levelling the playing field between smaller pharmacies and larger chains.

  • The government confirms plans to make ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing models available to all local pharmacies.
  • The change aims to make local pharmacies more efficient and free up time for more complex elements of dispensing and clinical care.
  • Move is part of government’s drive to make patient access to medicines and treatment more efficient across the NHS.

Patients stand to benefit thanks to an efficiency drive that will allow all local pharmacies to dispense medicines more efficiently, the government announced today.

Currently, larger pharmacy chains can take advantage of the efficiencies and cost-savings that come with centralising the dispensing of medicines at a larger ‘hub’.  

But smaller independent pharmacies are unable to operate the same model due to legal restrictions on dispensing for pharmacies under different ownership, meaning they can face additional costs and workload. 

Under the changes announced today, the government will progress in making the ‘hub and spoke’ model universally available, allowing pharmacies belonging to different legal entities to use hubs belonging to other companies. This will level the playing field between smaller pharmacies and larger chains.  

The changes will enable pharmacists to dispense medicines more efficiently and spend more time dealing face to face with patients.

Primary Care Minister, Andrea Leadsom said:    

“We’re continuing our drive to make access to medicines and care faster, simpler and fairer for all patients, including at local pharmacies. 

“These proposals will level the playing field and enable our hard-working community pharmacies to benefit from centralised dispensing.

“It will also free up highly skilled pharmacists from back-office duties to deliver patient-facing services, including Pharmacy First and contraception consultations, supply medicines and provide advice.”

The government ran a consultation on its plans for a wider ‘hub and spoke’ model rollout in 2022 and received an overwhelmingly positive response.  

Now, subject to Parliamentary approval, all pharmacies will have an option of two hub and spoke models from 2025.   

The proposed legislation was a commitment made under the Primary Care Recovery Plan and is the latest of several initiatives being delivered to improve the efficiency of pharmaceutical services across the country. 

Legislation to give greater powers to pharmacy technicians was also laid in April which, if approved by Parliament, will free up staff to carry out more tasks and free up more time for pharmacists.


  • The link to the consultation response can be found here:
  • Dispensing medicines covers a number of processes – including the receipt of a prescription, the clinical and accuracy checks, sourcing of the products, the preparation, assembly and supply of medicines and advising the patient to ensure they know how and when to take the medicine. Traditionally, all of these different processes have been done in a single pharmacy based in the community.
  • The concept of hub and spoke dispensing is that the routine elements of dispensing activity can take place on a large scale at a pharmacy known as “the hub”, separate to the pharmacy at which the prescription was handed in, which is known as “the spoke.” Existing hubs usually make use of automated processes to realise economies of scale and efficiencies, freeing up time and space for pharmacists and pharmacy team’s time to focus on delivering other services to patients.
  • Read more about new powers for pharmacy technicians here: New powers for dental and pharmacy staff to free up appointments - GOV.UK (


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