In depth Pharmacy

We take an in-depth look at the Pharmacy department at UHNM, including some of the recent successes of the team and a look ahead to the future and how the department intends to continue its development.

The UHNM Pharmacy Directorate is a forward-thinking, multi-disciplinary and fast growing department whose role is to support the safe and effective use of medicines for all patients across all hospital sites.

The department plays a crucial role in maintaining patient flow, contributing proactively to a positive patient journey that enables enhanced recovery and safe, timely discharge.

The department consists of five core services:

  • Patient Services & Distribution
  • Clinical Services
  • Clinical Information & Procurement
  • Technical Services, Cancer & Clinical Trials, and
  • Governance, Medicines Safety & Medicines Information

The team comprises over 245 staff, including Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, Pharmacy Assistants, Pharmacy Nurses, Scientists and Clerical staff, all of whom play a vital role in ensuring the safe use and supply of medication and advice to patients. 

Jonathan Snape, Advanced Pharmacist Practitioner Antimicrobials, is one member of the team and he was recently invited to present at a national NHS Improvement Infection Prevention and Control Conference to discuss and share UHNM's approach to improving antimicrobial prescribing and stewardship with specific reference to the work of the team and how the team uses in-house consumption data and targeted ward rounds to support prescribers.

"It was a great privilege to be invited to speak at the conference and share the fantastic work that the whole department here at UHNM undertakes. Specifically, the presentation focused on the results of work we've been doing as part of a national CQUIN which is a means by which Public Health England task NHS Trusts with improving their anti-microbial prescribing and stewardship. We performed particularly well in one area compared to other Trusts and I was asked to share the tactics and strategies we used to achieve this. This included our work on helping to control expenditure and usage of antibiotics, in particular broad spectrum antibiotics that are under the microscope because of national campaigns regarding resistance.

"I was also asked to provide some case studies highlighting where our team, led by Dr Krishna Banavathi (Consultant Microbiologist), made changes to guidelines and how we've improved engagement with nurses and prescribers to improve their prescribing habits. The work that our clinical pharmacists are doing on the ward everyday was also highlighted and played a huge part in ensuring that we were able to beat our targets in quarter 2 of the year.

"I had some really positive feedback from fellow presenters about the work we're doing at UHNM, some of whom have roles nationally within Public Health England."

The national recognition for staff from the Pharmacy department doesn't stop there either, as Ruth Bednall Interim Principal Clinical Pharmacist was asked to present at the NHS Improvement Hospital Pharmacy Transformation Day in London during February. This presentation highlighted the work she has done on the development of a pharmacy workforce calculator. Once again the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the conference helped showcase the innovative and forward thinking practice that is happening each day at UHNM. This piece of work has also seen Ruth being awarded a Doctorate in Pharmacy from Keele University School of Pharmacy. However, these teams don't work in isolation – a key strength of department is the integrated team approach. Ruth spoke about the co-operation between pharmacy teams. "Whilst anti-microbial resistance is Jonathan's specialist area, my clinical services team across Royal Stoke and County are implementing these ideas at ward level and supporting nursing staff and prescribers on a daily basis. The teams have really taken these ideas on board and it's been really pleasing to see the impact they're having across the board. These measures are crucial in the context of the national campaign regarding anti-microbial resistance and it's important that we continue to work hard to provide innovative solutions for our patients.

"It's also been really useful having Jonathan's team as a resource to bounce off for when one of our staff members on the ward may come up against a particular problem regarding prescribing. That co-operation between teams has been really evident and is a key reason why our practices have been recognised nationally."

Sue Thomson is Clinical Director for Pharmacy and is responsible for the overseeing the department as a whole and she spoke about Jonathan and Ruth's work and the plans of the Pharmacy Department moving forward and the challenges that need to be overcome in the coming years.

"These conferences are really important to help raise the profile of the pharmacy directorate and UHNM in general. It gives us a national platform to showcase the innovative work that we're doing and Jonathan and the team should be very proud of the work they've put in and the results that they've been able to share. There has been a lot of publicity nationally about how important it is for the public to understand the risks of antibiotic resistance and it's an issue that we're taking extremely seriously. Quite rightly it's been identified as a national public health risk and we're working to ensure that we do our bit at UHNM to keep patients safe moving forward."

"Looking forward, quite simply our goal at UHNM is to become a world-class centre of clinical and academic achievement where staff work co-operatively to ensure patients receive the highest standards of care. However, we're also acutely aware that there are a lot of obstacles that need to be overcome to achieve that ambition. For example, we have to think differently in the way we approach recruitment and retention and we launched a campaign last year highlighting why the North Midlands is a great place to work and live.

"We have different challenges when compared to big cities in other areas of the country, but we've got an incredibly determined and committed team that really strives to put UHNM on the map. We know that our staff are going to be instrumental to our success moving forward and it's my job to ensure that they're in the best position to deliver exceptional levels of care and the best possible outcomes for our patients.

"I'm incredibly proud of all the team and the facilities that we have here, and I'm really positive about the future of the Pharmacy Department at UHNM. Yes there will be challenges, but I'm more than confident that we have the expertise and experience to meet them head on."