Health Service Focus

13.09.16

Optimism for improving pharmacy eProcurement

Source: NHE Sep/Oct 16

Despite timescales being tight and potentially a “little too optimistic”, the fact that the Hospital Pharmacy Transformation Programme (HPTP) has come under the remit of NHS Improvement (NHSI) means “something will happen”, NHE has been told. 

A Department of Health (DH) spokesperson who has been involved with the project said that because there is a top-level commitment, with funding now in place for Scan4Safety and HPTP, the impact and change is now “tangible”. 

“HPTP all sits within NHSI,” she told NHE. “The fact that it has a home and is recognised means – for want of a better phrase – it is a ‘force to be reckoned with’. It means it won’t be taken lightly and won’t be dismissed. It is very interesting and exciting; I can see things moving already.” 

Earlier this year, in Lord Carter’s efficiency review of acute trusts he recommended that trusts should, through HPTP, develop plans by April 2017 to ensure hospital pharmacies achieve their benchmarks such as increasing pharmacist prescribers, e-prescribing and administration. He also called for accurate cost-coding of medicines and consolidating stock-holding by April 2020, in agreement with NHSI and NHS England, so that their pharmacists and clinical pharmacy technicians spend more time on patient-facing medicines optimisation activities. 

Currently, there is a timescale of June 2017 for implementation of NHS dm+d, and we were told that there is “a lot of work going on to get that in place to help ensure that is a possibility”. 

NHE was told that during October and November there will be a series of roadshows across England with speakers from each of the disciplines within the eProcurement projects, including pharmacy, to provide a single message to trusts. Details of the events are now starting to be circulated. 

With regards to the Scan4Safety demonstrator sites, said the DH spokesperson, they are working “as one”. “Certainly within pharmacy and other disciplines they are saying: ‘These are what we need for Carter and HPTP, this is the request we are putting through to you [the suppliers]’,” she said, adding it is “unfortunate” that it has taken so long for the idea of a single set of benchmarking data to take hold. 

Asked how confident she was about progressing pharmacy eProcurement, she said: “The fact that we have these roadshows will help tremendously; the fact we have the money in place will give it a boost; and, I think, realistically, we have a fighting chance of getting something done which we didn’t have before because these things weren’t in place. 

“I’m an optimist but I’m also a pragmatist. You have to prove that it is worth doing, and I think that is what Carter has done and the money which is behind Carter from Treasury – and the money that is there for Scan4Safety – makes it achievable. The expectation is there, so the delivery has to be there. Once you have made that sort of commitment you can only move forward.”

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