Professional standards for hospital pharmacy

Hospital pharmacy

In 2012 the Royal Pharmaceutical Society published professional standards for hospital pharmacy services across Great Britain (GB). Professional standards, such as these, support the development of safe, quality services that put patients and their needs first.

The standards provide the profession with developmental standards that are supportive, enabling and professionally challenging. They give a broad framework that can be used by Chief Pharmacists, Directors of Pharmacy and their teams to improve services, and to shape future services and pharmacy roles in order to deliver quality patient care.

In 2014 the professional standards were revisited in light of the findings from 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). The standards were also reviewed to ensure that they aligned with developments in pharmacy and healthcare agendas in Scotland and Wales.

The 2014 review found that the ethos, scope and remit of the standards were already largely consistent with the recommendations of both Francis and Berwick, and developments in the Scottish and Welsh health systems. The fundamentals were therefore not changed however more emphasis was given to key themes such as the need to increase patient involvement and feedback in the development, delivery and improvement of pharmacy services. The importance of organisational culture and the need to provide services in a candid, transparent and open way in an environment that supports continuous learning was also given more focus. A review date of 2017 was set for the standards.

The 2017 update will follow the RPS process for updating standards and guidance  It is expected that the standards update will be completed in the second before the end of 2017. 

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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