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Hospital pharmacy staffing levels in England: has anything changed in the last 5 years?


Objective To undertake an analysis of hospital pharmacy staffing levels in England comparing national and regional averages for 2007/2008 and 2012/2013.

Methods Individual hospital pharmacy staffing establishment data were extracted from the National Health Service (NHS) Pharmacy Education and Development Committee's National NHS Pharmacy Staffing Establishment and Vacancy Survey for 2007/2008 and 2012/2013. Hospital activity data for the 2 years were extracted from the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre website. For each hospital, the number of whole time equivalent (WTE) pharmacy staff was divided by the number of admissions and a percentage WTE/admission calculated. Acute hospitals were analysed separately from mental health hospitals.

Results The mean % WTE pharmacy staff/admission in acute hospitals in England 2012/2013 was 0.114 compared with 0.112 in 2007/2008 (p>0.05). The means for individual staff groups have either remained unchanged or have reduced slightly. There were also changes by region with some increasing and others decreasing. The changes in mental health and social care trusts were more marked with the median % WTE pharmacy staff/admission almost doubling in 2012/2013 compared with 2007/2008. This increase in establishment was seen in all pharmacy staff groups.

Conclusions The number of pharmacy staff per admission in acute hospitals in England between 2007/2008 and 2012/2013 has not changed significantly. This indicates that pharmacy services have kept pace with increasing activity. In contrast, pharmacy staffing levels in mental health trusts have almost doubled in the intervening 5 years as a result of a national initiative to develop the workforce in mental health services.


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