Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services

The Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services describe quality pharmacy services (or ‘what good looks like’).

They are for providers of NHS and independent (private) hospital pharmacy services including those in hospitals (acute and non-acute), mental health, community service, prison, hospice, and ambulance settings. They apply whether services are provided internally or outsourced.

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.

We updated the Standards in 2022 using the RPS process for the development of standards and guidance. They have been in use since 2012, they were previously updated in 2014 and 2017. The development and updating has been led by the pharmacy profession, with multidisciplinary and lay input. 

First published: July 2012
Updated: 11 November 2022

View the Standards, Supporting Resources, and their background

Supporting quotes

These refreshed professional standards have been updated to reflect current approaches and aspirations for a modern effective hospital pharmacy service. They will be a useful resource for hospital pharmacy teams seeking to continuously improve and provide excellence.

- Sue Ladds, Hospital Pharmacy Modernisation Lead, NHS England

APTUK is pleased to support the refresh of the Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services which have a renewed focus on the pharmacy team as a whole to deliver person-centred, inclusive, safe and efficient hospital pharmacy services. We encourage pharmacy technicians to support the application of the standards in their practice, actively strive for continuous improvement in service delivery and help others within the pharmacy team to do so too.

- Claire Steele, APTUK President

The Chief Pharmacists in Wales welcome the refreshed Hospital Pharmacy standards which will provide a consistent framework ensuring patients are at the centre of the services we deliver. The standards will support benchmarking and allow an improvement approach to the delivery of safe and effective use of medicines ensuring patients are enabled to achieve the best outcomes from their use.

- All Wales Chief Pharmacists Group

The National Acute Pharmacy Service (NAPS) Leads in Scotland welcome the refreshed RPS Hospital Pharmacy Standards that include new aspirational ‘stretch targets’ to encourage hospital pharmacy service development and maximisation of the skill mix utilised. Previous versions of the standards have provided a valuable tool to benchmark the quality of care provided to our patients and support the development of services.
The RPS Hospital Expert Advisory Group support a pilot of the assessment tool that is going to accompany the refreshed Standards, which Scotland will also be involved in testing. In addition, NAPS are exploring the establishment of external Peer Assessment applying the refreshed standards as an opportunity to bring additional rigor and sharing of good practices across Health Boards in Scotland.

- Melinda Cuthbert, NHS Lothian Associate Director Pharmacy (Acute) & Alison Bell, NHS Dumfries & Galloway Lead Pharmacist Acute & Diagnostics on behalf of the National Acute Pharmacy Service Group

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