HC Deb 25 February 1970 vol 796 cc354-7W
Mr. Ogden

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has received the Report of the Working Party on the Hospital Pharmaceutical Service; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Crossman

Yes, my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Wales and I received the Report on 13th February and we are grateful to the Chairman, Sir Noel Hall and members of the Working Party for the valuable and comprehensive inquiry which they have undertaken. In view of the importance of reaching early conclusions upon the recommendations in the report, we are today sending copies to hospital authorities and to professional and other associations most closely concerned, asking for their views as soon as possible. Copies will also be placed in the Library of the House and made available to the Press today. The report is being printed and will be available as a priced document from Her Majesty's Stationery Office early in April.

The principal recommendations are as follows:

Organisation: 1. Hospital pharmaceutical services should be organised on a scale large enough to ensure that pharmacists are fully occupied on duties requiring their professional and managerial ability: to provide scope for the optimum use of technicians and other supporting staff; and to create the conditions needed for a satisfactory career structure. 2. The unit of organisation for pharmaceutical services should be the Area Pharmaceutical Service providing all the basic pharmaceutical services for an area which would almost always be larger than that of a single Hospital Management Committee, Board of Management, or Board of Governors. It should normally include some 4,000–6,000 beds of all types. 3. For reasons of geography and communication some smaller Pharmaceutical Areas may be required, but no Area should be so small as not to provide adequate work for a team of at least eight pharmacists, with their supporting staff. In these circumstances the number of beds of all types in such an Area might be as low as 2,500. 4. The Regional Hospital Boards should undertake a survey of the pharmaceutical needs of hospitals in their regions and should draw up plans for the re-organisation of pharmaceutical services on an area basis. To be effective any survey must include teaching hospitals. Regional Boards should determine which of their hospitals should be served by each Area Pharmaceutical Service in the region, and agree with Boards of Governors on how teaching hospitals may provide, or be included in, Area Pharmaceutical Services. 5. The early appointment of a Regional Pharmacist is highly desirable to assist Regional Hospital Boards to undertake the responsibilities envisaged. 6. The executive structure adopted for each Area Pharmaceutical Service should be a matter for determination by the Regional Board in the light of local circumstances, but it should be such that the Area Pharmacist is in a position to plan and run all pharmaceutical services in the Area and to arrange staffing on an area basis. A convenient arrangement would be for the Regional Hospital Board, after consultation with the hospital authorities in an Area, to designate one of those hospital authorities to provide pharmaceutical services on behalf of all hospital authorities in the Area.

Staffing: 7. The pharmacist should be fully employed on duties appropriate to his professional training. These are primarily the management of his Area, section, or activity, the laying down of safe systems of work, the proper exercise of his advisory role, some research and the development of and participation in systems which enable the pharmacist to co-operate with doctors, nurses and administrators in securing the safe, efficient and economical use of drugs. 8. The pharmacist should have adequate pharmacy technicians and other supporting staff to relieve him as far as possible of work which need not be undertaken by the pharmacist personally.

Career Structure: 9. An improved grading structure should be introduced for pharmacists and technicians, which takes account of the organisation proposed and offers suitable levels of work. This should be supported where necessary by the constructive movement of staff, and the organisation of progressive systems of training.

Training 10. The Health Departments should keep the training needs of the hospital pharmaceutical service under review in collaboration as necessary with the professional and educational bodies. 11. Training should be related to service needs and training schemes be planned and supervised by Regional Boards in consultation where necessary with appropriate educational bodies. 12. Training courses to keep pharmacists abreast of developments in their own field, should be encouraged and developed. Courses to qualify pharmacists to undertake the managerial and supervisory duties authorised in the report should be provided as a matter of urgency where they are not already available. 13. In appropriate circumstances pharmacists should be encouraged and assisted to undertake higher degree courses. 14. A basic all round training for one of the nationally approved qualifications should be provided for Pharmacy Technicians to fit them to develop skills in the principal aspects of technical work. Training in supervision should be given to those technicians who are to carry these responsibilities. Some senior technicians may need in the future suitably planned advanced courses. 15. Other supporting staff should be given in-service instruction in procedures peculiar to pharmaceutical work.