Professional standards for hospital pharmacy

Hospital pharmacy

Professional standards for hospital pharmacy services; optimising patient outcomes from medicines.

To ensure that patients experience a consistent quality of hospital pharmacy services, we have defined ten overarching professional standards. These standards, (applicable across the full range of service providers in Great Britain) will help ensure patients are protected from incidents of avoidable harm and get the best outcomes from their medicines.

The ten overarching standards give:

  • Chief executives, board members and other stakeholders a framework against which they can be assured  that there is adequate professional input into how medicines are used, and that the appropriate level and quality of pharmacy services are provided within their organisation and their partners.  
  • Chief pharmacists and their teams a consistent set of standards to use as a framework for continuous service improvement and innovation, both in their own organisations and with partners who deliver local health services.

The standards are consistent with, and may be used to help inform and complement, relevant legal framework requirements and the minimum standards currently required by systems regulators, professional regulators and insurers.

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 »

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 »

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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