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Study demonstrates value of in-hospital pharmacists

Monday 21st August 2017
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society wants to see more independent pharmacists installed in UK hospitals. Image: oneinchpunch via iStock
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Having more pharmacists based in hospitals to prescribe medicines to patients is proving effective for the health service, a new study reveals.

A report entitled 'Pharmacist prescribing in critical care: an evaluation of the introduction of pharmacist prescribing in a single large UK teaching hospital' has been published in the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy and shows that in-hospital prescribing is generally very safe with a low error rate, the Pharmaceutical Journal reports.

The study authors focused their attentions on just one teaching hospital in the UK between May and June 2016. Independent pharmaceutical prescribers were positioned in three of its departments, with the researchers monitoring how many prescriptions they signed, what they were for and how many errors were made.

During this time, pharmacists awarded 5,374 prescriptions to patients. In-hospital pharmacists were on duty 60.4 per cent of the time, accounting for 10.7 per cent of prescribed medicines.

More than half of these prescriptions were for new medicines, with almost two-thirds (63.4 per cent) prescribed to help treat conditions affecting the central nervous system, general infections and illnesses relating to the blood or nutrition.

What's more, it was found that the average error rate for these pharmacists came in at just 0.18 per cent.

Commenting on the study, Suzanne Scott-Thomas, clinical director and head of medicines management at the Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: "We welcome the findings from this evaluation which demonstrate the valuable contribution that independent prescribing pharmacists can contribute to patient care in hospital settings."

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society wants to see more pharmacists installed in hospitals across the UK to prescribe both new and existing medicines to patients being treated on their wards. The organisation believes that significant value could be gained by more thoroughly integrating independent prescribers into the NHS.

Written by James Puckle

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