Pharmacists criticise lack of vision

Report critical of career structures, IT systems and premises


There is no national vision for pharmacy in the health service, with many practitioners feeling “stuck” with regard to career progression, according to a report commissioned by the regulator for the profession.

The report from the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland relays strong criticism by hospital pharmacists of IT systems, the premises in which they work and their career structure.

It says many hospital pharmacy premises are “unfit for purpose” and limit the potential for future development of services.

The technology supporting hospital pharmacy activity is “largely inadequate” and integrated IT systems supporting electronic prescribing and patient records will be required to reach standards in other countries. “Pharmacists are sceptical about the capability of their IT systems to cope with future demand, and believe that investment is needed,” the report notes.

Authors Horwath Bastow Charleton say there is a strong perception in the profession that there is no national vision for pharmacy and how it should fit into the wider healthcare delivery system.

It calls on the health authorities to address the under-development and lack of support for clinical pharmacy practice in the acute hospital sector.

“Access to hospital pharmacy services is restricted in most hospitals at present to weekday office hours; this is at odds with the aspiration, supported by the evidence, to have hospital pharmacy practice as an integral element of high-quality patient care.”

Clinical pharmacy services should be available in parallel with other medical services “when and where this is required”.