Background The pharmacy department provides an out of hours on-call pharmacy service and an out of hours pharmacy room. Information on how to access these is available in the Medicines Guide. All queries received are logged on an on-call record form. There was an opinion that the same queries were being asked repeatedly, both for supply and information. We considered this was important to review.
Purpose To quantify and identify the frequently occurring queries to the on-call pharmacist and to address any issues arising.
Material and methods An audit was carried out of the on-call record forms relating to a 9 month period, identifying common drugs and common questions. An Excel spreadsheet was created and data entered to facilitate analysis.
Results In the 9 month study period there were 402 queries logged; 295 were for supply and 141 were for information. 12% of requests for supply resulted in the pharmacist coming into the hospital.
The top medications involved in rank order were: gentamicin, fentanyl, parenteral nutrition (PN), oxycodone and vancomycin. Gentamicin and vancomycin intravenous monographs needed improvements in the information provided.
Fentanyl patches were the number one supply request. These need to be available at ward level for improved patient care. PN guidelines outline procedures for out of hours PN requests. These need to be promoted within the pharmacy department. A meeting was held with nurse practice development to discuss possible improvements to the provision of the service. A flow chart called ‘Do you need the on-call pharmacist?’ was created.
Conclusion This project has given us baseline figures for the pharmacy on-call service. We have identified recurrent queries and have improved the availability of both medications and information regarding their administration. The project will bring improvements for nursing and pharmacy staff working out of hours and ultimately provide better and more timely patient care.
No conflict of interest.