What we do
These are the pharmacists and technicians who will visit patients on the wards to:
- find out if you're already taking medication
- provide prescribing advice
- help you to understand your treatment, medication and potential side effects
- encourage the re-use of your own medication where appropriate
- talk to you about taking your medication before you go home
- work with doctors and nurses to make sure the most appropriate and effective drugs are being prescribed.
We have two pharmacy dispensaries in Southampton General Hospital - one for outpatients and one for inpatients (including dispensing discharge medication).
We also have a dispensary at the Royal South Hants Hospital, dispensing medicine to patients of other local trusts.
A pharmacist checks that each prescription is appropriate before dispensing it, and may speak to the doctor or nurse who prescribed it. After the medicines have been dispensed we check our own work before giving your medicines to you.
Patients' own drugs scheme (PODs)
If you're admitted to hospital, we ask you to bring all your medication from home. One of our pharmacy technicians will check it, then it will be stored in a secure bedside locker so you can take it as usual. We will dispense any extra medication that you need ready for when you leave hospital.
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 you need medication urgently, or requires one that cannot be prescribed by a GP, you may be given a hospital prescription for the pharmacy to dispense.
We would normally supply enough medicine 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 have to check that your prescription is appropriate first.
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 eat solid foods.
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
Medicines are put through rigorous testing in clinical trials before being licenced for general use. We carry out lots of trials like this at UHS, with as many as 250 taking place at any one time. Many patients are involved - these are people who have given their permission in advance.
Our team ensures everything runs smoothly, making sure that patients involved get the right item and providing the agreed information to the company sponsoring the trial.
Our 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.