What we do

Clinical pharmacy

These are the pharmacists and technicians who will visit patients on the wards in order to co-ordinate pharmacy services. They will:

  • Find out what medication a patient is already taking
  • Provide prescribing advice
  • Help patients understand their treatment, medication and potential side effects
  • Encourage the re-use of the patient's own medication where appropriate
  • Talk to patients who are going home about how to take their medication
  • Work with doctors and nurses to make sure the most appropriate and effective drugs are being prescribed

Dispensary services

Pharmacy dispensary

There are two pharmacy dispensaries within Southampton General Hospital. One provides the service to outpatients, the other to inpatients (including the dispensing of discharge medication). 

We also provide dispensing services to patients of other local trusts from our dispensary at the Royal South Hants hospital.

A pharmacist checks each prescription for appropriateness before it is dispensed, referring to the doctor or nurse if necessary. After the medicines have been dispensed we check our own work before releasing the items to the patient.

Patients' own drugs scheme (PODs)

If patients are admitted to hospital, they are encouraged to bring in all their medication from home.

It will be checked by a pharmacy technician, stored in a secure bedside locker and administered as usual, to ensure the patient continues on the same treatment plan.

Any extra medication will be dispensed ready for discharge to make the process quicker and more efficient.


In many cases the hospital doctor will recommend to your GP what treatment you should have, rather than start it at the clinic.

However if a patient needs medication urgently, or requires one that cannot be prescribed by a GP, they may receive a hospital prescription for the pharmacy to dispense.

We would normally supply sufficient for up to one month (one week for accident and emergency prescriptions).

Normal NHS prescription charges apply to outpatient and day case prescriptions. If you are exempt from these charges, or have a pre-payment certificate, you should bring evidence of this with you.

We process outpatient prescriptions as quickly as possible, but please remember that the dispensary staff first have to check that your prescription is appropriate.


A team of pharmacy staff are involved in preparing drugs, called chemotherapy, for cancer patients. They do this in a sterile environment and supply the medication to the ward or clinic ready to use, in a syringe or as an infusion bag.

Great care is taken to ensure that all medicines we prepare are of the highest quality and exactly right for each patient. Doing this takes time, and there may be a short delay at busy times.

Other areas are used to prepare a range of injections aseptically, including nutrition drips that will be given intravenously to patients who are unable to take solid foods.

Medicines advice

The Southampton medicines advice service is hosted at Southampton General Hospital. This supports doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare staff by providing specialist advice on medicines.

As well as providing advice to hospital staff, medicines advice pharmacists help GPs, community pharmacists and provide a patient medicines helpline. This is a free and confidential service for our patients, who may have questions about their medication after their hospital visit. Information about your medicines can also be found in the patient information leaflet that is usually provided with your medicines. Copies of most leaflets can be found at www.emc.medicines.org.uk 

Clinical trials and research and development

Before being granted a licence for general use, medicines undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials.

Many trials like this are carried out within the Trust, with as many as 250 taking place at any one time. Many patients are involved – and we always get their permission in advance.

The pharmacy's dedicated trials team ensure that the process runs smoothly, making sure that you get the right item and providing information to the company sponsoring the trial.

Pharmacy staff are also involved in 'practice research'. This makes sure that what we do is backed up by evidence and, where necessary, gradual improvements are made.