Chesterfield News

Peak Pharmacy invests in new technology to support staff and customers

Chesterfield-based Peak Pharmacy has invested in new, innovative equipment to speed up its processes, along with improving accuracy and capacity.

The organisation recently moved to a new headquarters at the Horizon 29 development near Chesterfield and is now investing in an Austrian system provided by Knapp to improve the way it dispenses medications for customers.

Managing Director, Joe Cattee explained: “Knapp partners with a number of organisations within the country already and supports with the ability to pick products by using fully automated and manual picking zones for speed and convenience.

“The attraction to work with this provider was that they have designed a system that enables us to dispense patients’ medication at our site. This takes this workload out of community pharmacy and creates capacity within our pharmacy network for our teams to support patients in different ways.

“The machine is significantly more accurate than human dispensing, and the speed in which we can dispense medication means that we can do approximately half of all the prescriptions we do on a monthly basis through our Hub. Clearly, there will be some requirements to support and educate both our pharmacy teams and patients, but it enables us to revolutionise what we do under extremely challenging conditions.”

The new technology is helping Peak Pharmacy to revolutionise how it operates, enabling the business to continue thriving during a challenging economic climate.

Joe Cattee added: “Community pharmacy is vastly underfunded across England. It’s being reported that 8 pharmacies a week are closing in the current climate with funding decreases between 2015 & 2019, and a flat fee funding contract introduced from 2019 – 2024. This obviously has a detrimental effect on the million visits to community pharmacy in England every day.

“By investing in automation at our Hub, we reduce the stress and pressure on our pharmacy teams, ensuring a better level of patient care is provided. The launch of the ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme on 31st January 2024, enabling community pharmacy to treat seven common health conditions without visiting a GP, shows the direction of travel that community pharmacy needs to undertake.

“By removing dispensing volume across our estate, and assembling centrally, we can ensure a more accurate and timely service of medication provision, whilst also having capacity to engage in more NHS and private services to support patient wellbeing. In short, if we don’t adapt then we will not remain a viable business. Community pharmacy plays a huge part in supporting the country, but the financial reimbursement for what we do means that the costs of running our business now outweigh the revenue we receive for the services we provide.”

Speaking of the company’s recent relocation to the Horizon 29 development, Joe commented: “Relocating to our new Hub at Horizon 29 in Bolsover enables the closure of our multi-site depots across Derbyshire. This creates efficiencies, consolidating the operation under one roof with the ability to start afresh with a new automative system.

“We currently process around 1.5% of the country’s prescriptions across our 140 pharmacy branches, and this need to adapt what we do ensures that we’re at the forefront of community pharmacy. This creates an opportunity for us to survive during very real economic challenges. We must engage with other ways to support our patients, rather than just focusing on prescription fulfilment. By using technology I know that we can offer so much more to our patients across the country and support them with their requirements.”

If your business is based in Chesterfield and you’re looking for support to innovate and grow, find out more about the latest initiatives on our business support page.

Peak Pharmacy supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Knapp automative system at Peak Pharmacy headquarters

Josh Marsh

Destination Chesterfield Coordinator (Investment and Marketing)

Email Josh
Knapp system at Peak Pharmacy Headquarters

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