The UK’s biggest pharmacy chain plans to roll out access to its dispensing support pharmacy (DSP) to 580 of its stores “over the coming months”, with the aim of it dispensing one in ten of all Boots prescriptions.
The DSP uses scanning and verification technology to check the accuracy of the items being assembled, labelled and bagged. It was piloted in 50 stores across England, Scotland and Wales in 2014, and was launched from a distribution facility in Preston in an effort to free pharmacists’ time.
As Boots currently dispenses around 220 million prescriptions annually, the centralised dispensing system could handle around 22 million prescriptions per year.
The company has confirmed that the DSP was used in 425 of its stores as of 28 June 2019, with “another 25” stores beginning to use the DSP from the week beginning 8 July 2019.
A spokesperson for Boots said that a further 50 stores would start using the DSP “in the month of August ” and 80 additional stores would move to using the system “over the coming months”.
“When the rollout is completed, the DSP will dispense 1 in 10 Boots prescriptions and 1 in 50 prescriptions across the UK, supporting 580 Boots stores,” they added.
Claire Anderson, chair of the English Pharmacy Board at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that she welcomed “digital innovations along with other enablers to enhance pharmacists’ patient-facing roles”.
However, she questioned whether suggestions that DSPs free up pharmacists’ time had “had proven to be the case”.
Boots faced criticism in June 2019 when some patients expressed anger after prescriptions from the DSP were provided in plastic bags. Boots claimed the plastic bags were more durable than paper ones.