If you are in St John of God Murdoch Hospital and have medication prescribed…who fills and delivers the script? We delve behind-the-scenes at Epic Pharmacy to better understand their role in our Hospital.

Medication supply and governance is a crucial part of the Hospital experience. For the past 11 years Epic Pharmacy Murdoch has provided this service at Murdoch Hospital.

Richard Grainger is the Director of Pharmacy at Epic Pharmacy Murdoch and his team has a broad role which is integrated into many areas of the hospital service.

“Due to the breath of the service that Epic Pharmacy provides, our pharmacists and technicians are often specialised in a particular area of work,” he said.

“We have specialist pharmacists and technicians in the areas of dispensing, procurement, cancer care, manufacturing, governance and clinical services.

“Our clinical pharmacists further specialise into specific areas such as intensive care, antimicrobial stewardship, oncology and haematology, opioid stewardship and medication safety.”

Supply and counselling service
Mr Grainger said that first and foremost, pharmacy provided a supply and counselling service, ensuring patients were provided medication and information in a timely manner.

“For medication that the patient will self-administer at home, pharmacy impart counselling direct to the patient to ensure clear instruction is provided regarding indication, administration and pertinent potential side effects,” he said.

“Clinically trained pharmacists provide a supportive, ward-based clinical service. This role includes medication reconciliation, educating patients and caregivers and reviewing the validity and appropriateness of prescribing.

“Clinical pharmacists perform a parallel role to the medical prescribers, reviewing prescribing and patient medication to ensure safe and effect use of medication.”

Medication safety
Medication safety is a crucial part of his team’s role in the pharmacy, said Mr Grainger.
“There is a specialty pharmacist on most committees across the hospital, including but not limited to, medication safety, oncology and haematology, antimicrobial stewardship and product review groups,” he said.

“Pharmacy play a key role in ensuring patients are informed about any costs for their medication by having transparent discussions with a patient so that they can make an informed decision regarding their treatment.

“Pharmacy also advocate on the patients behalf to their health fund to request additional financial cover when required.”

Pharmacy provide advice in many key areas:
• to patients regarding their take-home medications
• to Nurses regarding preparation and administration of medication
• to Doctors on suitability and availability of medication
• to nurse unit managers on what items are appropriate and safe to stock on their specialty wards.

“The Pharmacy service has many moving parts across Murdoch Hospital,” Mr Grainger said.
“However, at the core of all this work, providing patient care remains the primary driver and
sole focus.”

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