Press Release

NHS England sets out 7 day working for hospital pharmacists

Today at the RPS Annual Conference NHS England launched their report “Transformation of Seven Day Clinical Pharmacy Services in Acute Hospitals.”  The document outlines how hospital pharmacy services could operate more efficiently and safely, and makes 13 recommendations of how clinical pharmacy services in hospitals can be strengthened, particularly at weekends, to benefit patients.

Responding to the speech, Sandra Gidley, Chair of the RPS English Board said:
“The idea of a seven day NHS is here to stay. Pharmacists are committed to improving patient care and will be looking at innovative solutions and adapting current best practice to ensure that patients receive the best possible pharmaceutical care throughout their NHS journey.
"There is a clinical gap in pharmacy input at weekends.  However,  this cannot be managed within current resources and staffing levels. It is unrealistic to expect five day resources to cover a seven day service which is exactly the same on all days of the week. Priority must be given to those services which will enhance and speed the patient journey.
“How this is implemented is going to be crucial. It is essential that pharmacy is represented when strategically planning seven day working to ensure clinical input is integrated into the ward team. Resources must be targeted to improve inpatient care where it is most required, for example by having a clinical pharmacist available to provide care to high risk patients and on ward rounds, and not simply to extend dispensary opening hours.
“Any strategy for seven day working must focus on improving patient outcomes, with pharmacists integrated into multidisciplinary weekend teams to help improve the patient experience.   Extending services will also increase the confidence of other professions in pharmacists as true partners in patient care.
“The role of community pharmacies must also be considered in strategic planning as they have an important part to play in improving discharge arrangements as well as through emergency supply of medicines and providing access to out of hours services. 
“Local situations will require local solutions and consideration needs to be given to consulting the current workforce to manage change successfully.
“The RPS will help and support pharmacists to develop the skills and competencies needed to provide patient centred services in a changing NHS through professional guidance and career development provided through the RPS Faculty."