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Your RPS

Updated RPS hospital pharmacy standards published

The new professional standards document can be downloaded from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s website.

Hospital pharmacy ss 18


The new NICE-accredited professional standards for hospital pharmacy cover professional standards across eight themes. The guidance document can be downloaded from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s website

A major update of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) Professional Standards for Hospital Pharmacy Services has been released. The NICE-accredited standards are now available to download from the RPS website.

The document covers professional standards across eight overarching themes, which include integrated transfer of care, medicines governance, and leadership. Examples of how the standards are used by bodies including NHS Wales, the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists and Healthcare Improvement Scotland also feature, and the RPS is keen to receive further examples, which will be hosted on the RPS website.

An associated handbook points to the legal and regulatory frameworks against which the standards have been developed.

Jatinder Harchowal, chief pharmacist at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, was a member of the steering group behind the new update.

“The overriding aim of the standards is to enable patients to experience a consistent quality of service from within and across healthcare providers,” he said.

In addition to giving patients a clear picture of what they can expect, the RPS says that the standards also provide chief pharmacists and directors of pharmacy with “a consistent set of standards against which they can be held accountable”.

“The standards are the embodiment of patient-centred care,” said Nigel Westwood, one of three patient representatives who sat on the steering group. “There is a strong focus on putting the patient first and the emphasis is on ensuring we are fully involved in our care and can share decisions about suggested treatments and medicines.” 

Benchmarking purposes

As with previous versions, the updated standards can be used to support benchmarking, a self-evaluation process that allows hospital pharmacists to improve services by identifying strengths and weaknesses in performance. The RPS Hospital Expert Advisory Group (HEAG) is keen to hear from people who use the standards in this way.

“We’d like to find out how [pharmacists] have implemented them to find gaps in their services or improve patient safety,” said Rob Duncombe, chair of the HEAG. Anyone wanting to share best-practice examples should contact

The new standards have been developed with support from representatives of several organisations including the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing, the Secure Environment Pharmacists Group and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204192

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