The South Eastern Trust has four Pharmacy Departments in the Downe, Lagan Valley and Ulster Hospital sites and the Prison Healthcare Pharmacy based at HMP Maghaberry. Pharmacy are responsible for all steps in the medicines management process (selection, procurement, distribution and supply) to ensure patients receive the most appropriate medicines for their condition.
Downe, Lagan Valley and Prison Healthcare have a pharmacy service Monday – Friday, with a dispensing service for Downe and Lagan Valley hospitals provided from the Lagan Valley site on Saturday mornings. The Ulster Pharmacy Department provides a service to patients 7 days per week.
The range of services provided by the Pharmacy Department include: medicines supply and distribution, clinical pharmacy, antimicrobial stewardship, patient safety and medicines governance and education and training.
Medicines Supply and Distribution
Pharmacy Purchasing – Staff ensure that medicines are bought at the best prices available and that the quality and availability of medicines is maintained.
Pharmacy Stores – Receipt and distribute medicines within the pharmacy department.
Dispensing Services – Staff members ensure that prescriptions are dispensed accurately for patients and provide medicines, fluids, vaccines and dressings to wards and clinical areas across the Trust.
Aseptic Services –Prepares sterile, individual doses of chemotherapy, intravenous drugs and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for patients across the Trust.
Specialist Medicines service – Staff work closely with medical, nursing and pharmacy colleagues to support patients who need specialist medicines which can only be provided by hospital pharmacies. Further information about specialist medicines in Northern Ireland can be found at www.ipnsm.hscni.net.
Clinical Trials – The trust takes part in clinical trials to research the use of new medicines or new ways of using existing ones. These medicines are managed and dispensed from the pharmacy department.
Clinical Pharmacy – Teams consisting of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, provide advice to prescribers in medical and surgical wards to ensure that patients receive the appropriate medicine. They also provide advice to patients on how to best use their medicines. Many of our clinical pharmacists have undertaken specialist independent prescribing qualifications; this allows them to prescribe for our patients in appropriate settings.
Cancer services – the cancer services pharmacy team check all chemotherapy doses are appropriate for the patient before it is made by our aseptics staff. Working with the multidisciplinary team within the cancer unit they provide advice and support to patients, nursing and medical staff.
Paediatrics– The paediatric pharmacist promotes safe and effective prescribing within the paediatric units. The pharmacist engages with young people and their carers to promote greater understanding of their medication to improve compliance with their treatment leading to better outcomes.
Medicines Optimisation in Older People (MOOP) – The MOOP team looks after patients in Intermediate Care, care homes and patients in their own home who have had a fall or problems taking their medicines. They ensure patients get the most benefit from their medicines by reviewing and optimising medication.
Enhanced Care at Home (ECAH)- The ECAH pharmacist ensures that patients who are treated for acute conditions at home have the right medicines prescribed and dispensed . They also provide a medicines optimisation service and advice to patients on how to best use their medicines.
Medicines Information – Provides support for healthcare staff and patients who have questions about medicines.
Mental Health Services- Mental health pharmacists are available to the teams looking after mental health patients, in the hospital wards and the community, for support and advice about the safe prescribing and management of medications. They regularly meet with patients to discuss their medications; to maximise the benefits they can get from their treatment. A useful resource for patients can be found at www.choiceandmedication.org/hscni
Antimicrobial pharmacy team – Promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials (including antibiotics) to ensure that infections are treated whilst protecting patients and reducing the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
Outpatient Antimicrobial Therapy team – Ensure that patients who are treated with intravenous antibiotics at home are treated safely. The team does this by ensuring that antibiotics are prescribed and administered correctly and that all necessary blood tests are carried out.
Patient Safety and Medicines Governance
The team work closely with nursing, medical and pharmacy colleagues both locally and regionally, to improve and develop medication safety initiatives across the Trust and share good practice and learning. This may include developing policies or education and training materials related to medication safety and undertaking quality improvement work.
Education and Training
The department has a strong focus on education and training. The Teacher Practitioner Pharmacist works within a regional team to provide experiential learning for undergraduate pharmacy students studying at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. They are also involved with education and training of pharmacists within the trust. The Chief Technician, Education and Training coordinates the training for technical and support staff who undertake NVQ2/ NVQ3 qualifications whilst in training.
Mental Health Medicines Management Pilot Study
The Mental Health Medicines Management Pilot Study is an initiative, being managed by the Health & Social Care Board, to help patients with severe enduring mental illnesses to use their medicines more effectively.
A specialist mental health medicines resource, an information website entitled “Choice and Medication” has been commissioned for a further year and is freely available to all healthcare professionals and patients in Northern Ireland.
Useful features of the site include:
- Patient information leaflets suitable for three different levels of reading ability for all mental health medicines
- These leaflets provide answers to common questions asked about medication
- There are comparison charts for groups of medicines indicated for a particular condition e.g. depression
- Leaflets in Polish
- Answers to over 25 of the most commonly asked questions about 135 medicines
- Answers to 12 of the most commonly asked questions about common mental health conditions
- Other available resources include handy histories, which patients can use to monitor their own progress with mental health medicines