Improving discharge from hospital to community pharmacy

11 Dec 2015

Improving the transfer of medicines information on discharge from hospital can have a big impact on the quality of care patients receive. 

Today, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust launched their Refer to Pharmacy scheme where hospital pharmacy teams visit patients prior to discharge and set up an electronic referral appointment with the patient’s chosen community pharmacist once they come out of hospital. This means that patients receive continuity of care and benefits include better adherence to their medicines, a reduction in hospital admissions, fewer medicines errors and better health.

RPS English Board Chair Sandra Gidley said:

“The potential of community pharmacists to improve patient safety at the point of hospital discharge is huge. This pioneering scheme means that patients in hospital will experience the important benefits of post-discharge support with medicines at a pharmacy close to home.

“I hope this system spreads far and wide so that patients come to expect referral from hospital to community pharmacies as the norm. Medicines are the most common form of treatment provided by the NHS and we must get the most from them to both improve patients’ health and reduce wasted medicines.” 

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Innovator’s Forum have produced a new free online toolkit, Hospital Referral to Community Pharmacy, endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians, on how you can set up an electronic referral system in your area.  It provides the business case for investment in an e-referral system and gives practical advice on how to implement it, along with helpful case studies.