About the Pharmacy department

The Pharmacy department at Great Ormond Street Hospital is responsible for all medicines produced and dispensed to outpatients, day patients and inpatients.

Over the past year, more than 170,000 items were dispensed and distributed around GOSH, making it one of the busiest departments in the hospital.

Many of the medicines we dispense are unusual or not readily available. We were also the first children’s hospital in the UK to use electronic prescribing for all inpatients and outpatients. This means that prescribers no longer have to hand write a prescription but complete it on a computer for electronic transmission to the pharmacy.

Our pharmacists and technicians

Our pharmacists have studied a four-year course leading to the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) qualification. Following this they complete twelve months pre-registration training in a community or hospital pharmacy or in industry. Finally, they have to pass the examination to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Hospital pharmacists work as part of the clinical team. They are responsible for ensuring that correct medicines are prescribed, devising and supervising treatment plans for patients and providing information about medicines to staff and patients.

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role working alongside pharmacists. They prepare and dispense medicines under the supervision of a pharmacist, make up sterile medicines and are responsible for stock control and ordering. They usually complete their two-year training course part time, at the same time as working in a community or hospital pharmacy. 

The Drugs and Therapeutics Committee at GOSH

The Drugs and Therapeutics Committee (DTC) is a multi-disciplinary team that is responsible for overseeing medicines management issues within the Trust, including the GOSH pharmacy formulary. The DTC has a robust system for the evaluation of new medicines and assessment of therapeutic practices, guidelines and policies.

The primary concern of the DTC is the clinical effectiveness and safety of a drug therapy compared to existing alternatives, with decisions driven by an evidence-based approach. The DTC collaborates with the Joint Formulary Committee, and other groups, to focus on optimising medicines management, monitoring medication safety, and improving patient care.

The pharmacy formulary has an important role in underpinning the safe and effective use of medicines in the Trust. The benefits of implementing a local formulary include:

  • improving patient outcomes by optimising the use of medicines

  • supporting the inclusion of patient factors in decision-making about medicines

  • improving pathways

  • improving collaboration between commissioner and provider

  • improving quality by reducing inappropriate variations in clinical care

  • improving quality through access to cost-effective medicines

  • supporting financial management and expenditure on medicines across health communities

  • supporting prescribers to follow guidance published by professional regulatory bodies in relation to medicines and prescribing 

All relevant medicines recommended in a NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) technological appraisals are automatically included into the GOSH formulary in a planned manner, which supports their safe and appropriate use in clinical practice. Any medicines that have a governance or safety concern will be added to the formulary with a restriction to ensure patient safety. It should be noted that there are few NICE appraisals which are directly relevant to the treatment of children.