Around 45% of hospital emergency departments have a clinical pharmacy service, MPs told

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee pharmacy inquiry, David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, said the figure was a "significant step" towards all hospital emergency departments having a dedicated pharmacist.
david webb

Approximately 45% of hospital emergency departments (EDs) in the UK have a clinical pharmacy service, David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, has told MPs.

His comments follow a joint position statement, published by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) in December 2023, which recommended that all hospital EDs in the UK should have “a dedicated pharmacist”.

Giving evidence at the final hearing of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry into pharmacy on 26 March 2024, Webb said that NHS Benchmarking Network information from acute providers showed that “about 45% of hospitals who responded said that they had a clinical pharmacy service in emergency departments”.

He added: “It’s not universal but it’s a significant step towards the provision the RCEM was recommending in their guidance.”

The committee also received updates on the NHS learning support fund and government plans for hub-and-spoke dispensing.

Amanda Doyle, national director for primary care and community services at NHS England, was asked by the committee if pharmacy students would be allowed access to the NHS learning support fund, which provides financial help for other healthcare students.

Doyle responded: “Pharmacy is outside of the scope of the learning support fund because it only applies to those courses that are eligible for an NHS bursary prior to 2017.”

Also answering the question, pharmacy minister Andrea Leadsom, said: “These things are always under review, but at the moment I’m not aware there is any plan to extend it.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society criticised student pharmacists’ exclusion from the fund as “unjust” in a joint letter to then health minister Will Quince in September 2023.

Leadsom also told the committee that a government response to its consultation on expanding hub-and-spoke dispensing would be published “shortly”.

Consultation documents published by the Department of Health and Social Care in March 2022 estimated that allowing community pharmacies that are separate legal entities to use a hub-and-spoke dispensing model could save the NHS in England £27.3m over 10 years.

In its ‘Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care’, published in May 2023, the government said it would “progress legislation” on widening the pharmacy hub-and-spoke arrangements.

The Health and Social Care Select Committee’s pharmacy inquiry began in June 2023, with a remit to investigate “the readiness of pharmacy services to capitalise on future opportunities, as the way in which healthcare is delivered is changing”.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2024, Vol 312, No 7983;312(7983)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.306914

    Please leave a comment 

    You may also be interested in