Hospital pharmacists are responsible for the dispensing and procurement of medicinal products and supplies used in the hospital. Hospital pharmacists can also work in health centres, care facilities, clinics, nursing homes and GP surgeries.
Tasks and responsibilities, apart from the core function of dispensing prescription medicines and supplies, include working with other medical personnel to provide treatments and advice to patients, recording patient histories relating to medicinal use, and ensuring the safe and secure storage of all medicines and hospital supplies.
Pharmacists also have to prepare medicines and conduct quality checks in instances when individual drug components need to be mixed together before treating patients.
They plan and monitor clinical trials and stay updated on pharmacy regulations, treatments and developments in research and design.
Salary & benefits
Salary levels are based on several designation bands, denoting experience and qualification levels.
After starting on around £21,000 as a pre-registration pharmacist, you will earn up to £25,000 as a rotational pharmacist before becoming a specialist and earning about £30,000.
Advanced pharmacists earn up to £45,000, while pharmacist managers can earn up to £53,000. Pharmacist consultants can earn as much as £80,000.
Other benefits include annual vacation entitlements, an NHS pension scheme, accommodation at low or subsidised rates and additional cost-of-living allowances for employees based in and around London.
Hospital pharmacists employed in NHS facilities enjoy a regular working schedule, with occasional extra hours during evening times and weekends under a rotational system.
There is no travelling involved since all procedures and activities are confined to the hospital itself.
A typical working day will see the pharmacist working in the dispensary, doing ward rounds and working with chemicals and drugs in the laboratory and ‘clean’ rooms.
Minimum academic requirements for hospital pharmacists include a four year MPharm degree course and a one year pre-registration training programme.
In order to get on this degree course, you must have grades A-C in English and mathematics at GCSE standard, and three A-levels in science and maths related subjects.
Training & progression
Pharmacist training and the regulation of the profession has been managed by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) since 2010.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), which was the previous regulator, is now tasked with providing leadership and practice-related activities.
Training activities for registered pharmacists are via in-house programmes and external study programmes organised at national and regional levels.
These include management skills, initial specialty training, continuing professional development and updates on the latest pharmaceutical industry trends and developments.
They also keep you in touch with research and design activities and breakthroughs in drug treatments, as well as hospital and government policy changes.