Our Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation department provides a wide range of specialist pharmaceutical and clinical services across St George’s and Queen Mary’s hospitals.

The team is responsible for direct, patient-facing clinical pharmacy services and advising patients about how best to manage their medicines, as well as working with staff across the Trust to ensure prescribing is safe, evidence-based and cost effective.

Over the past few years, the team has been developing the way it works. The objective has been to ensure patients have more timely access to medicines to reduce the amount of time they need to spend in hospital.

Three satellite dispensaries have been set up across the two main wings at St George’s; one in Atkinson Morley (second floor), one in Lanesborough (third floor) and one on Richmond Acute Medical Unit. These local sites can dispense medicines to patients more rapidly than by using the main pharmacy on ground floor, Lanesborough Wing, meaning patients get access to their take home medications and can be discharged more quickly.

As part of our quality improvement plan, a fourth satellite pharmacy will open later this year on the fifth floor of Lanesborough Wing.

To radically improve medicine management on the wards, the team has trained pharmacists to be able to transcribe and/or prescribe medicines to patients. This frees up time for both doctors and nurses who can then spend more time with patients.

This approach is proven to support more effective and quicker discharge of patients.

As part of our quality improvement plan, the team is looking to ensure that 80% of pharmacists are qualified to prescribe medicines, meaning more pharmacists are on the wards to support clinical colleagues.

Chris Evans, Chief Pharmacist, said: “I am very proud of our pharmacy staff, taking on these new roles of working which is improving the patient experience and flow through the Trust, and we must maintain our ‘best in class’ performance.”

The team has also collaborated with colleagues on the wards to ensure that they support the ‘home by 11am target’. This programme was designed to ensure that those patients who are ready to go home are discharged by 11am.

This hard work has resulted in a recent NHS benchmarking report, ‘Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation benchmarking’, detailing St George’s as recording the lowest average discharge TTO medicines turnaround times achieved by any teaching hospital Trust in 2016/17.

A recent audit by Charlotte Nicholls, our Lead Medicines Management Technician, demonstrated that 95% of patients are receiving their medications within the 60 minute national target.