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Transition to adult services: the current and potential role of the UK hospital pharmacist


Purpose To explore the current and potential role for UK pharmacists in the transition to adult services for young people with chronic health problems.

Methods UK hospital pharmacists were surveyed using an online questionnaire with closed and open questions covering their involvement in a transition programme, demography and scope of work, experiences of transition, and the barriers encountered in providing an effective transition service.

Results Overall, 74 pharmacists completed the questionnaire. Most were female (70% (52/74)), had ≥6 years of experience (62% (46/74)), were paediatric pharmacists (74% (55/74)), and were based in a teaching hospital practice setting (70% (52/74)). Many participants (57% (42/74)) had a transition programme in place in their hospital; of these, 55% (23/42) were not a part of the service. Respondents identified unique skills that pharmacists could contribute to the transition service, including knowledge of medications (including formulations and unlicensed medications), awareness of medication services beyond paediatrics, commissioning of medications, and familiarity with adult services. Most commonly identified barriers to transition included ‘time constraints’, ‘pharmacists not involved as part of the wider multidisciplinary team’, and ‘lack of engagement between different services’. Pharmacists noted that their ideal transition service would include specific medication-related transition, for example, adherence, counselling, and supply of medications.

Conclusions These findings support the role of hospital pharmacists as crucial members of the multidisciplinary team required for transition. The skills and knowledge of the hospital pharmacist is under-utilised within the transition service, yet pharmacists are motivated and uniquely skilled healthcare professionals who have the potential to improve medicines transition.

  • pediatrics
  • pharmacy service, hospital
  • health care economics and organizations
  • quality assurance, health care
  • research design

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