The general public and community pharmacists’ perceptions of using robotic dispensing methods: ‘hub and spoke dispensing’ and ‘pharmacy automation’ for dispensing in community pharmacies in England

  • Imandeep Kaur Uppal

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    In 2015, the Department of Health sent out a letter to community pharmacies suggesting efficiencies to be made due to budget cuts, including lower operating costs by using large scaled dispensing methods such as ‘hub and spoke dispensing’. Pharmacy automation is a method that is currently adopted in hospital pharmacy. Robotic dispensing has been a proposed method of dispensing in creating more time for pharmacists to engage in other activities such as the provision of services and an out of hours support, as highlighted in various healthcare policies such as the NHS Five-Year Forward View. It is believed by policymakers that community pharmacies need to adopt robotic dispensing methods in order to achieve this. Given the lack of research into thegeneralpublic perception on thetopic of hub and spoke,the aim of this thesis was to explore community pharmacists and the general public perceptions of the use of robotic dispensing methods ‘hub and spoke dispensing’ and ‘pharmacy automation’. Community pharmacists being users of the dispensing technology and the general public being recipients of the use of the technology led to the investigation of the perception of both groups. A literature review was conducted, and an insight into the overview of healthcare policies helped to formulate questionnaires for the two empirical studies. Two large scaled studies were conducted using cross-sectional methodology; postal surveys were sent to community pharmacists (study one) and the general public (study two). The questionnaires identified differences of opinions between community pharmacists and general public respondents, relating towards perceptions towards the use of hub and spoke dispensing and pharmacy automation. Perceptions of community pharmacists were also found to be affected by factors such as age, type of community pharmacy (multiple, independent etc.) worked in and their employment status (employed, locum etc.). Whereas, the perceptions of the general public varied between the age and last type of community pharmacy visited by the respondent. Recommendations regarding the public and community pharmacists’ perceptions towards hub and spoke and pharmacy automation have been proposed to help policymakers for the future implementation of robotic dispensing.
    Date of Award2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorDarrin Baines (Supervisor), Amir Khan (Supervisor), Barry Strickland-Hodge (Supervisor), Afthab Hussain (Supervisor) & Joseph Bush (Supervisor)


    • Community pharmacy
    • England
    • General public
    • Hub and spoke
    • Pharmacy automation

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