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On-call hospital pharmacy services: a perspective from NHS Tayside, Scotland
  1. John Dunn
  1. Pharmacy Department, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to John Dunn, Pharmacy Department, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, DD1 9SY, UK; johdunn2{at}


Aim To describe the enquiries to an out-of-hours pharmacy on-call service and to describe the activity of this service from April 2015 to March 2016.

Method Data entered by on-call pharmacists into the ‘On Call’ app database at a large teaching hospital were reviewed retrospectively. Data were analysed using OpenOffice Calc.

Results 839 on-call enquiries were received in the data collection period, averaging 70 calls per month or 2.3 calls per shift. The busiest days were Saturdays (26.0% of total calls, 218/839) and Sundays (20.0% of total calls, 168/839). The vast majority of calls were received before midnight (91.8%, 770/839), with most of these being received between 09.00 and 20.00 (68.1%, 571/839). The number of calls varied greatly between months with the least calls being received in April (37) and the most in January (100). Nurses were the main users of the service with 62.8% (527/839) calls. Junior doctors were the other main users with 26.2% (220/839) of calls. Most calls involved queries regarding the supply of medicines (30.0%, 252/839), Medicines information requests (26.8%, 225/839) or requests to dispense discharge prescriptions (17.6%, 148/839). The majority of calls were resolved within 30 min (82.4%, 691/839) and a significant proportion answered within 10 min (48.6%, 408/839). The average time taken to resolve a call was 22 min. More experienced members of the service were able to resolve calls more quickly than the more junior (averages of 26.64 vs 19.73 min).

Conclusions This article provides a commentary on the pharmacy on-call service within NHS Tayside and an in-depth look at what an on-call service entails.

  • Pharmacy
  • On Call
  • On Call App
  • Hospital Pharmacy
  • NHS Tayside

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