Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services: Background

Here you will find background information on the Standards, including why they were updated in 2022, what was updated, how they were updated, who was involved and who endorsed it.

You will also find the literature review that underpinned the refresh.

First published: 11 November 2022


  1. Background
  2. Why the Standards were updated
  3. Summary of changes made to the Standards
  4. How the Standards were updated
  5. Development process and timeline
  6. Literature review
  7. Who updated the Standards – acknowledgements
  8. Who endorsed the Standards

1. Background

Since 2012, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has published professional standards for NHS and independent (private) sector pharmacy services in hospital, mental health, private, community service, prison, hospice, and ambulance settings. They apply whether services are provided internally or outsourced.

A key function of a professional leadership body is to provide professional standards that are supportive and enabling, but professionally challenging. 

There is a clear requirement for providers of pharmacy services to use them to improve and develop services that are safe and put the needs of people first. Professional standards are consistent with and complement relevant legal framework requirements as well as the minimum standards currently required by systems regulators, professional regulators, and insurers and may be used to help inform them. 

Whilst they are not mandatory, they are developed and owned by the profession, and set out what constitutes ‘good’ in terms of practice, systems of care, and working practices.

2. Why the Standards were updated

This refresh of the Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services was triggered automatically from the review date of the 2017 version of the Standards.

Since the 2017 Standards, there have been various changes which needed to be included in the refresh which include:

  • An increasing drive towards integrated care
  • Being more agile in how services are provided
  • Utilising the whole workforce and technology
  • New initial education and training standards for pharmacists.

Due to the current healthcare climate and rapid changes occurring, a decision was made that these Standards should be considered for review again in 2024.

3. Summary of changes made to the Standards

There have been improvements and amends to the 2022 Standards, including:

  • Overview of changes to the Standards
  • Deleting supporting statements where duplication was apparent
  • Adding new statements or modifying existing supporting statements to include omissions identified through the literature review
  • Restructuring some of the supporting statement where additions became apparent as the Standards were updated
  • Light editing for clarity, brevity, or consistency of terminology
  • Addition of new descriptors – research and wellbeing.

Overview of changes

For details of changes made in comparison to the 2017 Standards, please see our Hospital Standards Refresh Comparison to 2017.

4. How the Standards were updated

The review involved initial strategic support and engagement with the RPS Hospital Expert Advisory Group (HEAG). They concluded the 2017 Standards were broadly fit for purpose, based on a literature review and extensive use of the framework in practice, and confirmed the need for an update and refresh. An external task and finish group with representation from across GB was set up to guide the refresh process.

The task and finish group contained representatives from:

  • HEAG
  • Regional Chief Pharmacists
  • Chief Pharmacists
  • Clinical Fellows
  • Regulators
  • Professional organisations
  • Lay representatives.

These were from across England, Scotland and Wales. The group was chaired by Rob Duncombe and all members of the task and finish group were asked t declare conflicts of interest which were managed in line with RPS policy.

The review timelines are listed below.

5. Development process and timeline

September 2021 - Scoping refresh with HEAG

November 2021 - Survey to explore views, usage, experience and appropriateness of standards

January 2022 - HEAG agrees refresh approach

February 2022 - Task and finish group assembled; literature review undertaken

March - June 2022 - Task and finish group meeting 1-4 (review of Domains)

July - August 2022 - Open consultation (six weeks); supporting tools updated

September 2022 - Consultation analysed and comments incorporated

October 2022 - Standards finalised; endorsements requested; sent to designers; updated website; launch planned

November 2022 - Standards published on RPS website.

6. Literature review

A literature review was undertaken in December 2021 to identify key changes and evidence relating to key service developments and changes to the hospital pharmacy landscape since the publication of the 2017 Standards.


7. Who updated the Standards - acknowledgements

Task and finish group for the 2022 review




Rob Duncombe*

Chair of T&F Group
Chief Pharmacist, The Royal Marsden


Melinda Cuthbert*

Associate Director of Pharmacy, NHS Lothian


Catherine Picton*



Karen Harrowing*

Quality Systems & Pharmacy Consulting


Ngozi Onyele

Pharmacist Specialist


Sue Ladds

Regional Chief Pharmacist – South East, NHSE&I

Regional Chief Pharmacists

Uzo Ibechukwu

Chief Pharmacist, Royal United Hospital Bath

Chief Pharmacist (Non HEAG)

Jagjot Chahal

Clinical Fellow, NHSE&I

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Aileen O’Hare

Clinical Fellow, GPhC

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Marian Salek

Clinical Fellow, NHSE&I

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Ravijyot Saggu

Clinical Fellow, NHSE&I

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Denise Rosembert

Clinical Fellow, SPS

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Kalveer Flora

Clinical Fellow, LPP

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Stephanie Ghartey

Clinical Fellow, NHSE&I Transformation Directorate

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Fatema Jessa

Clinical Fellow, NICE

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Mary Rehman

Clinical Fellow, NHS Digital

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow

Natasha Callendar

Future Practice Advisor, NHSE&I


Alison Bell

Lead Pharmacist, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary

National Acute Pharmacy Subgroup (NAPS), Scotland

Dianne Burnett

National Lead for Medicines Information, Wales


Lisa Forey

Head of Pharmacy – Operational Services, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Welsh Chief Pharmacists Group

Judith Green

MSO/Governance Lead, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board

Hospital Employees

Claire Steele*

Head of Pharmacy Medicines Supply & Quality, NHS Fife

President of APTUK


Mohamed Rahman

Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director of Medicines Optimisation, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust
Chair of UKCPA


Pavitar Gandham

Lead Pharmacist for Medicines Optimisation (SWFT and GEH) and UKCPA Director


Dipak Vaidya

Group Chief Pharmacist for Aspen Healthcare

Chair of the Independent Sector Chief Pharmacist Group

Independent Healthcare Providers

Peter Hawkes

Lay representative


Nigel Westwood

Lay representative


*Also members of RPS HEAG

RPS staff



Sarah Crawshaw

Lead Author & Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Clinical Fellow 21/22

Wing Tang

Interim Associate Director, Pharmacy Membership & Experience

Regina Ahmed

Guidance Manager, Professional Standards Team

Amandeep Doll

Head of Professional Belonging

Heidi Wright

Practice & Policy Lead, England

Stuart Carter

Digital Content Lead (External Comms)

RPS Hospital Expert Advisory Group (HEAG)

With thanks to the following members of the RPS Hospital Expert Advisory Group who supported this refresh.


Jatinder Harchowal

Oweikumo Eradiri

Roger Fernandes

Raliat Onatade

David Campbell

Graeme Richardson

Yousaf Ahmad

Tracy Rogers

Melanie Bryan

Paula Russell

Mark Borthwick

Rahul Singal

David Cook

Steve Tomlin

Andrew Davies



Consultation respondents

Scottish Pharmacy Quality Assurance Group


















Ahmed Al-Nagar

Chief Operating Officer

Alison Brailey

Chief Pharmacist on behalf of Chesterfield Royal Hospital

Amanda Duggan

Pharmacy manager

Andrew Down

Deputy Chief Pharmacist and Non-Medical Prescribing Joint Lead

Arlene Shaw

Lead Clinical Pharmacist

Caroline Parker

Consultant Mental Health Pharmacist

Dr Paul Buckley

Chief Pharmacist

College of Mental Health Pharmacy and Pharmacy Declares

East London NHS Foundation Trust

Elizabeth Hackett

Principal Pharmacist for Medicines Information

Emma Cramp

Lead Pharmacist for Professional Development, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Emma Kirk

Lead Medication Safety Pharmacist – SPS

Fiona Ashworth

Lead Pharmacy Technician for Education and Training

Graeme Kirkpatrick

Head of Patient Safety (Advice & Guidance) – NHS England

Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Medicines and Pharmacy Team

Hugo Leung

Clinical Pharmacist – Emergency and Acute Medicine, Barts Health NHS Trust

James Baker

Principal Pharmacist for Medicines Optimisation

Joela Matthews


Joseph Wilson


Michael Marven

Chief Pharmacist on behalf of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Mo Azar

Chief Pharmacist on behalf of Alder Hey NHS Foundation Trust Pharmacy Department

Nigel Gooding

Consultant Pharmacist (Neonates & Paediatrics)

Paula Thoms

Pharmacy Technician

Pauline Lockey

Patient Safety Clinical Lead (Medication Safety) - NHS England

Ruth Brown

Chief Pharmacist, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Stephen Jones

Chief Pharmacist on behalf of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Susan Watkins

Chief Pharmacist, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust

Tony Jamieson

Clinical Improvement Lead (Medicines Safety Improvement Programme) – NHS England








8. Who endorsed the Standards

The Standards have been endorsed by professional bodies representing hospital pharmacy services. We will continue to publish and maintain the Standards in collaboration with these and other organisations.