Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions within the pharmacy department by our patients.  If you have a query which is not mentioned here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team and we will be happy to help.  Our contact details can be found on the ‘more information’ page.

I have been asked to bring my tablets with me when I am going to hospital – why?
It is extremely important that all patients bring their own medicines into hospital, especially if your admission is planned but even in an emergency. This is because by bringing your medicines with you to hospital, you can help the doctors, nurses and pharmacists to be able to take an accurate record of your current treatment (called a drug history). This will assist the doctors in deciding how best to treat you. It also helps to provide continuity of treatment by using the medication you are familiar with. Please inform staff if you have good supplies of your medicines at home in addition to those you have brought in with you.

What will happen to my tablets?
All the medicines you bring in with you will be assessed for suitability for use by you during your hospital stay. Following this assessment they will be placed your individual bedside locker, along with any other medicines you will need. By having the medicines at your bedside, your medication will be readily available for your treatment and for you when you are ready to go home. Your medicines will never be used for anyone else apart from yourself.

What about my medication when I am being sent home?
When the doctors decide you are ready to go home, and they have prescribed the medicines you need to take home with you, all your medicines can be easily removed from the bedside locker and given to you. Providing the doctors have not changed your treatment at this stage, all your tablets will already be in your locker and can be checked by the pharmacy or nursing staff at your bedside. This process means that any delays can be eliminated and you will be able to go home quicker.

Where will the nurses keep my tablets?
The medicines that you bring in will be placed in a locker by your bedside. The medicines will only be used for you during your stay in hospital and will be returned to you once a decision has been made for you to go home. Any medicines that are no longer required will be removed and, with your permission, disposed of by pharmacy.

What if I forget to bring my medicines in with me?
It is really important whenever possible for you to bring in your own medicines into hospital. If this is not possible, for what ever reason, we may ask your relatives or carers to bring the medicines in for you or we may arrange for a taxi to be sent to collect your medication if it is considered necessary. If we cannot get your medicines in from home, for whatever reason, then the hospital will supply all the medicines you require during your stay at Barnsley hospital.

How will pharmacy staff help with my hospital treatment?
The pharmacy department provides the full range of pharmacy services, as can be seen from the links on this page – we do far more than just provide medicines. It’s a big job, covering the purchasing, preparation, assembly, storage and distribution of a huge range of pharmaceutical products. We are also responsible for all advice, information and counseling required to make sure all medicines are used safely and effectively.

How does the pharmacy team help ensure safe medicines use?
The pharmacy team is there to ensure that all medication is used safely and effectively. We have staff working on wards with medical and nursing staff making sure you get the best treatment possible. If you have any questions about any aspect of your medicines whilst you are in hospital, just ask the pharmacist who will visit your ward at least once a day.

What is meant by the term “Medicines Management”?
Most people understand what is meant by the words “medicines” and “management” but far fewer understand what the term “Medicines Management” means. Basically medicines management is about getting the best out of medicines for everyone who needs medicines. Its about maximising the benefits from medicines whilst at the same time minimising any potential harm. Medicines management describes the processes needed to ensure safe and effective medicines use. Medicines management is everyone’s business and involves GPs, all of our staff and patients too. It is about making sure that patients get the right medicine at the right time in a safe and effective way.

What is meant by the term “Dispensing for discharge”?
During recent years there have been many key policies which looked at improving medicines management in hospitals. These policies all recommended setting up systems called “dispensing for discharge” or “one stop dispensing” schemes. Both these terms mean the same thing. They refer to the practice of dispensing all medicines to hospital patients fully labelled with instructions telling you how to take the medicines. Traditionally the hospital pharmacy would dispense tablets when you first come in to hospital, again during your stay and again when it was time for you to go home. This resulted in delays to patients waiting for medicines when it was time for discharge. Now within the hospital we only dispense medicines once, and these will last you for your inpatient stay and, because they are already labelled with instructions for discharge, they can be used for your take home medications as well.

Can I administer my own medicines while in hospital?
Many patients still prefer nurses to administer their medicines for them while they are in hospital. However we have introduced a policy for those patients who would like to administer their own medicines. This is called “self administration”.  Self administration allows you to continue self medicate, as you would do in your own home. This system is however not available on every ward. If you are interested in self administration then you should ask the nurses in charge on your ward if you can continue self medicate.

While in hospital who can I speak with about my medicines?
All wards within Barnsley hospital have ward pharmacy teams who visit the wards at least once a day, in order to sort out patients medicines. Most patients would probably think of speaking to the nurses or doctors that they see most often on the ward if they had any problems with their medicines. The pharmacy team can also be used to answer these type of questions, so just ask your pharmacist.

Why does it take so long to get my medicines when I come to the pharmacy?
The dispensary provides all of the medicines used in the hospitals and clinics. This year, we will dispense more than 200,000 items for patients and wards! This means that an average of 760 items are dispensed each day – that’s around 3 every 2 minutes. We always make sure that prescriptions are dispensed in the order they arrive in pharmacy. We aim to dispense and have discharge medication ready to collect within two hours from the time it arrives in pharmacy.  Outpatients usually wait up to 30 minutes, but this can be longer when there are several clinics running at the same time.  Please bear this in mind when you organise your transport home.

I need more help with my medicines. What should I do?
Please let us know if there are any issues regarding tour medicines whilst you are in hospital. If a problem is identified early in your stay we can help overcome any difficulties you might have with your medicines. It might be something simple like a medicine reminder chart or some medicines information. If this is something more, such as a compliance aid for example we can help arrange this for you. We would work closely with your GP and community pharmacy to make sure this can be continued when you are discharged home.

If I require further medicines upon discharge where will I get these from?
We will make sure you have sufficient supplies of your medicines when you are discharged home. You will find enclosed with your medicines, a blue copy of your discharge prescription. If you want to show this to your local chemist or your GP you can do so. The hospital will also post a copy of your discharge prescription, along with some details of your care during your hospital stay, to you GP for their records.

This page was updated: by Liz Drexler.
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