NHS review finds ‘majority’ of pharmacy aseptic services cannot fund maintenance

Aseptic hood

Most aseptic pharmacy services in England are unable pay for maintenance and servicing owing to a poor understanding of the costs involved, a NHS report has said.

The interim report following phase one of NHS Improvement’s ‘The Future of Pharmacy Aseptic Services in England’ review found that an average of six aseptic pharmacy facilities will likely need to be replaced or refurbished every year, costing between £6,600 and £9,000 per square metre.

The report said that the “majority of facilities [are] unable to provide maintenance and servicing costs”, adding that there is a “poor understanding of [the] costs”.

It said that out of 649 installed workstations, 403 are near the end of their “design life”.

The review comes after Lord Carter’s February 2016 report ‘Operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals: Unwarranted variations’ recommended a shift in the activity carried out by pharmacists to “spend much more time on clinical pharmacy services than on other activities, such as supply chain”.

As a result, every non-specialist acute trust in England produced a transformation plan, many of which contained plans to “change and consolidate aseptic services … to free more clinical pharmacy time for patient facing activity”, NHS Improvement said in the report.

However, with an increasing number of products requiring aseptic preparation, NHS Improvement has begun a review of the provision of pharmacy aseptic services, including activity  licensed, unlicensed and outsourced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Phase two of the review is set to look at “fully costed options for a national aseptic service based on clinical networks or hubs” across sustainability and transformation partnership areas.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, February 2019;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206153