Well Pharmacy is expecting to fulfil six in ten of its repeat prescriptions from a central dispensing hub following a year-long rollout to hundreds of its pharmacies in the UK.
Some 60% of the 72 million prescriptions dispensed by the multiple in one year will now be processed through “central fulfilment” in Stoke-on-Trent, which equates to 43.2 million prescriptions annually.
This is nearly twice as many as Boots, which said in July 2019 that it expects to dispense 22 million prescriptions per year, or one in ten of all items it dispenses, from its centralised dispensing support pharmacy, which fulfills prescriptions for 580 of its stores.
Meanwhile, Pharmacy2U plans to dispense 90 million items from its central facility by 2021.
Well Pharmacy’s ‘Healthcare Service Centre’ (HSC) uses automation technology to process and dispense items to the 746 of the 760 Well pharmacies that are currently using the hub.
A spokesperson for the company told The Pharmaceutical Journal that individual pharmacies will still dispense urgent prescriptions, as well as controlled drugs requiring safe storage, storage and split packs.
Acute prescriptions and monitored dosage systems will also not be dispensed centrally.
Janice Perkins, pharmacy superintendent at Well Pharmacy, said: “In a world full of technology, sometimes it’s the simple things that work well too”.
“We’ve also just introduced thousands of yellow totes into our distribution network. These are reserved for patients’ assembled orders from our HSC so that teams in the pharmacy can spot them easily and get their patients’ prescriptions onto the shelves. These are then ready for collection as quickly as possible.”
The multiple also announced that 100,000 patients have downloaded its digital pharmacy app since it launched in July 2018, with dispensing arranged through the app having now sent over 200,000 items directly to patients’ homes.
The Pharmaceutical Journal previously reported that Well Pharmacy had exceeded its targeted number of patients signing up to its online NHS prescription service by more than 3,000 in January 2019.
Gillian Stone, regulatory and NHS standards lead for Well Digital Pharmacy, said: “It’s not a case of pharmacies or digital, it’s about both being complementary and providing a seamless experience for our patients and customers”.
She added: “As people want different services and have different expectations beyond only a physical pharmacy, we need to be there providing them with their wellbeing needs in ways they want to receive it”.