Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy

For providers of pharmacy services in or to acute hospital, mental health, private, community service, prison, hospice and ambulance settings

We have updated these standards in 2017 using the RPS process for the development of standards and guidance. The professional standards have been in use since 2012, they were previously updated in 2014.

The development and updating of the professional standards has been led by the pharmacy profession, with multidisciplinary and lay input. The professional standards describe quality pharmacy services (or ‘what good looks like’).

The standards provide a broad framework that will support pharmacists and their teams to continually improve services, shape future services and roles, and deliver high quality patient care across all settings and sectors.


Supporting Resources

We have developed a number of supporting resources highlighting the importance of quality and providing any useful background information on the pharmacy services to help organisations implement the standards in practice.

Presentation about the standards Presentation about the standards

Handbook for Hospital Pharmacy Standards Handbook for Hospital Pharmacy Standards

The standards handbook is a supporting resource which has been updated and published online alongside the RPS professional standards for hospital pharmacy services.

We recommend that the handbook, the RPS Ultimate guide for Chief Pharmacist (or equivalent) and the newly developed case studies (continue to be evolved) are used in conjunction with the standards to provide you with useful signposting information to legislation and resources relevant to the standards and to help with the implementation of the standards in your organisation.

View the handbook for RPS Professional Standards for hospital pharmacy services.

Case Studies Case Studies

View case studies developed to provide you with examples of how the standards are used in practice.

Share your examples

We are keen to hear about examples of how your organisation are using the standards and implementing them in your organisation.

To support users of the standards, we are planning to develop the examples you share with us into case studies for the website. You can share your examples with us by emailing us at [email protected] .

It will be helpful for you to cover the following points in your examples for us to develop into case studies for our website:

  • Details of your organisation (name, type of organisation)
  • Which standard your example relates to
  • Description of the example (i.e. what is being done, any outcome or result).

RPS Guide for Chief Pharmacists or equivalent RPS Guide for Chief Pharmacists or equivalent

This RPS guide is for Chief Pharmacists or equivalents working in Great Britain. 

View the RPS ultimate guide for Chief Pharmacists or equivalents

RPS benchmarking metrics for acute hospitals RPS benchmarking metrics for acute hospitals

RPS benchmarking metrics for acute hospitals  – Definitions to enable meaningful benchmarking of pharmacy services, and the safe and effective use of medicines.

There is currently inconsistency in the way that acute hospitals measure performance when benchmarking. RPS through its Hospital Expert Advisory Group (HEAG) has developed a consensus on definitions for benchmarking metrics relevant to the delivery of pharmacy services and medicines use in acute hospitals.

The aim is to provide a consistent basis for the collection of data which will allow acute hospitals to benchmark performance against each other most effectively. Benchmarking helps identify unwarranted variation and therefore presents opportunity to improve performance within organisations. Definitions look to use existing data sources where possible rather than adding to the burden of data collection. It is acknowledged that this may occasionally lead to compromise in detail/accuracy. 

Defining the target range for the metrics is out of the scope of this work as is accounting for all local variations in service provision (warranted variation); the definitions are national and need to be broadly fit for purpose.

The RPS Hospital Expert Advisory Group will continue identifying and develop further definitions to support the profession in consistent benchmarking. Comments or suggestions for additional definitions can be directed to Catherine Picton ([email protected]).

View RPS benchmarking metrics for acute hospitals  – definitions to enable meaningful benchmarking of pharmacy services, and the safe and effective use of medicines here.

Literature Review Literature Review

Blank version of the data collection form Blank version of the data collection form

Download a blank Excel version of the standards to use as a template (includes space for notes, evidence and actions). The eight standards are linked, so there may be overlap between the different sections.

Download the blank version to use as a template

Supporting quotes

"APTUK are delighted to welcome the revised Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services and see these as a positive step forwards in supporting the delivery of quality, safe services to patients in a variety of pharmacy settings. 

It is key that the standards support professional practice of the whole pharmacy team, and APTUK are pleased to have been part of this revised publication. 

It is pleasing to see that the standards link well with integrated models of care and are person-centred. Applying the standards to everyday practice will go a long way in providing patients with confidence about their medicines and the pharmacy service they can expect wherever they are treated. Tess Fenn APTUK President."

- Tess Fenn, BA Hons MAPharmT, President, Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK)

"The Chief Pharmacists welcome the recent update to the RPS standards for Hospital pharmacy services. To date the standards have proved to be a valuable tool, providing a framework to support the development of services in a consistent manner, promoting high quality care across the care sectors.

The standards have supported benchmarking and provided Chief Pharmacists with useful information to assist with workforce planning, models of service delivery and identifying areas for improvement. Importantly, the standards assure our patients that they are receiving a safe and quality service from the pharmacy profession."

- Judith Vincent MRPharmS (Chair of All Wales Chief Pharmacists Committee)

"The revised standards feel right for current and developing pharmacy practice in hospitals.  The RPS have produced a highly relevant document to support modern hospital pharmacy. It will be a useful tool for evaluating services and highlighting issues and gaps within organisations. The updated sections on workforce and digital agendas are particularly welcome."

- Sue Ladds, Chair, Association of Teaching Hospital Pharmacists

"NAPS welcome this updated version of the Hospital Pharmacy Standards. The group will work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Royal Pharmaceutical Society (Scotland) to implement these standards to continue to improve and optimise patient care within our health boards."

- National Acute Pharmacy Group Scotland (NAPS)

A day you'll remember: #RPSConf22


On Friday 11 November, we'll change how you think about pharmacy, how you work with colleagues, and how you see yourself and your future!


Join us and discover how much pharmacy is changing. It’s a day for you to listen, to learn, and to discuss - as well as to enjoy meeting all your fellow professionals.

Get inspired with us on Friday, 11 November, and discover the future of pharmacy.