Your hospital pharmacist information for patients and parents

  • Information for patients/parents

    Your hospital pharmacist is a qualified professional, part of a health care team, and will look after all drug matters whilst you or your child is in hospital. Our pharmacists visit the wards Monday to Friday or you can talk to us in the pharmacy department.

    What we will do for you

    Our job is to make it easier for patients, parents and carers

    • Review your medications at least once a day and work with your doctors and nurses to achieve the best possible drug treatment on the basis of safety, effectiveness and cost.
    • Choose and dispense the most suitable form of medicine for you. This may be tablets, capsules, mixtures, injections or creams, or even designing an individual mixture or powder, particularly for younger patients.
    • Teach you or your child about your medications, their purpose, how to take them, possible side effects, or other important information you may need to know.
    • Dispense you or your child's medications whilst on the ward and coordinate supply for home use.
    • Speak to your local pharmacist or doctor if they need further information about you or your child's medications.
    What you can do for us

    Whilst you or your child are on the ward we may ask you:

    • the names of all the medications you or your child have been taking at home including medications bought from your local pharmacy, supermarket, health food shop or other source, including herbal and 'alternative' remedies.
    • if you or your child have had any allergies or unexpected reactions to any medications in the past.

    Ask us anything you don't understand about your or your child's medications

    Common questions patients/parents ask

    • What is the medication supposed to do?
    • How do I/my child take it, and for how long?
    • My child can't swallow tablets. Can she/he have a mixture instead?
    • Are there any foods, drinks or other medications to avoid?
    • What if a dose is missed?
    • Are there any side-effects, and what should I do if they occur?

    Information leaflets are available for many medications. These are called 'CMI' (Consumer medicine information). You may obtain these from your hospital pharmacist.

    Other activities hospital pharmacists perform 'behind the scenes'?

    • Advise doctors on the choice and dose of medication, ensuring that the least number of medications necessary for treatment are used,
    • Monitor and report side effects caused by medications,
    • Anticipate problems that may occur when two or more medications are used together,
    • Advise nurses on how to give medications. Some medications don't taste the best. We can suggest options to improve their acceptance.
    • Dispense medications for both inpatients and outpatients.
    • Provide up-to-date information about medications to doctors, nurses, other hospital staff. We answer drug-related questions, write guidelines, prepare bulletins, etc.
    • Prepare sterile medications under special conditions (e.g. intravenous medications, anticancer medications, eye drops).
    • Coordinate, prepare and monitor intrvenous feed formula (parenteral nutrition) for those patients unable to take food otherwise.
    • Manufacture other special products, e.g. creams, mixtures, suppositories.
    • Advise on the selection of new medications for the hospital.
    • Help design and run trials to evaluate new medications.
    Your hospital pharmacist is ready to help you

    Talk to us about special needs you or your child may have

    Also see: What does a hospital pharmacist do? - information for health care professionals

    Find out more about hospital pharmacy by linking to the Society of Hospital Pharmacists site.