Professional standards for hospital pharmacy

Hospital pharmacy

In 2012, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society published professional standards for hospital pharmacy services. These professional standards aimed to ensure that patients receive a high quality pharmacy service across the full range of service providers, whether provided in house or outsourced. We identified 10 overarching professional standards, under which sit several 'dimensions' of practice that encompass all pharmacy services across a range of care settings.

In 2014, we re-launched the refreshed professional standards, which  were revisited in light of the Francis review of events at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and the response to that review, the report of the National Advisory Group on the Safety of Patients in England (commonly referred to as the Berwick report). More emphasis was given to some key themes such  as increasing patient involvement and feedback and organisational culture. The standards were also reviewed  to ensure they aligned with other developments in pharmacy and healthcare agendas in Scotland and Wales and we also incorporated the experience of the 35 development sites from across GB that spent a year putting the standards into practice. A summary of the changes to the standards is also available.

On 2 December 2014, members of the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society gathered in London to discuss how the two professions could work together to help patients make the most of medicines. Understanding the factors that stop patients from making the most of medicines is important so that collaborative approaches between nursing and pharmacy can be developed to help patients make the most of medicines. This should involve a focus on patient outcomes and the patient experience. The Working together to help patients make the most of medicines report of the Royal College of Nursing and Royal Pharmaceutical Society Joint Summit summarises drivers for improving patient care, reasons for patients not making the most of medicines and how the two professions can work together by overcoming barriers and sharing.

Professional standards and resources

About the commission

Professional standards for hospital pharmacy services

The ten overarching professional standards for hospital pharmacy represent quality pharmacy services whether provided internally or outsourced. They underpin the patient experience and the safe effective management of medicines within and across organisations.

Download the standards »

Seven day services report

Seven day services in hospital pharmacy report

Seven Day Services in Hospital Pharmacy: Giving patients the care they deserve, provides a summary of the meeting between the Society and colleagues to discuss the challenges faced in moving to seven day services and outlines emerging themes for the pharmacy profession to consider when developing seven day services supplemented by actions for consideration.

Read the report »

View our supporting resources

We have developed a number of supporting resources to highlight the importance of quality pharmacy services and help organisations implement the standards in practice. These include a handbook which provides you with a range of resources  that can be used to support implementation and practice examples  that illustrate how others have implemented the standards in their organisation. 

View our supporting resources »

How the commission works

Development sites experience

In September 2012, work was begun with a number of development sites from a range of different care settings, across Great Britain on an implementation programme to help with the refining of the standards as well as inspiring others through the shared experiences of the sites.

Learn more about our development sites »

How the commission works

Patient experience

In April 2015, we held a one day summit focusing on how pharmacy teams could measure and improve patients’ experience of care. We produced a report summarising the day, so that other pharmacy teams and organisations may use it as a resource to support the continued development of their approaches to evaluating and improving patients’ experience of care. 

Read our patient experience report »

Best practice standards

Best Practice Standards for Managing Medicines Shortages in Secondary Care in England

This guidance (jointly published with the NHS) provides advice to NHS hospitals in managing medicines shortages at local level to minimise any risks to patients through delays to treatment.

Aimed at all staff, particularly Chief Pharmacists, the standards outline guiding principles including collaborative working to ensure that medicines in short supply are used for patients with greatest clinical need. 

The document also outlines 13 specific standards on policy, risk assessment and internal processes that should be addressed in order to minimise the effect of medicines shortages on patients.

Download the Best Practice Standards »


We worked in close partnership with a wide range of organisations and individuals and we are grateful for their contributions and expertise. Find out more the contributors to the standards.


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