Background In order to plan the managemenet a cytotoxic drugs preparation unit (CPDU), pharmacists used a scientific reference source1 it recommended 5 pharmacy technicians for 26,000 preparations per year. 50% of technician effective working time should be spent to preparation and 50% on associated activities (AA).
Purpose What about in practice? The aim of this study was to assess the technicians’ work load in real life.
Material and methods 5 technicians were hired in a CPDU in which 60% of the production was for use outside the hospital. Over one week, the times spent on the preparation and on 15 AAs was measured. The staff had to fill in a form giving the exact start and end times of the tasks. The different data collected were analysed and expressed in percentages.
Results 57% of technician effective working time was allocated to preparation. 9 AAs (36%) were fully done by technicians, the main ones being: preparation of sterilisation trays (17.4%), dressings, hygiene protocols (6%), managing orders (3.4%), schedule organisation (2%). The other AAs such as taking bacterial samples, inventory management, required the help of two additional logistics staff (47% of their working time). Without the help of logistics staff, all the AAs would need 58% of effective working time.
Conclusion Compared with our data, the reference source underestimates the time required for preparation and AAs, by 7.4% and 8% respectively. The additional time needed for preparation is explained by the fact that reference data are not accurate for specific preparations. Furthermore, AAs need more time because of the large amount of work outsourced to our department, which isn’t mentioned in the reference source. This study showed that 6 technicians are necessary, instead of the 5 recommended by the guidelines. Moreover, with the new national law concerning hospital organisation, the CDPUs are going to change and the outsourced work they perform will increase; the guidelines need to be reviewed.
Société Française de Pharmacie Oncologique
ReferenceNo conflict of interest.
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