Outsourced OPD helps reduce waiting times and leads to cash savings
LloydsPharmacy has been awarded the contract to run its 50th outpatient pharmacy, with a unit opening at York Hospital.
LloydsPharmacy became the first community provider of commissioned outpatient services at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals in 2009 and financial and activity pressures in the NHS, plus demands to improve quality, have accelerated schemes to outsource hospital pharmacy outpatient dispensing (OPD) services ever since.
Partnerships between community pharmacies and hospital trusts offer a broad range of benefits including long-term financial benefits and a more-streamlined service
Outsourcing OPD has helped NHS trusts to reduce waiting times and contribute to cash savings as well as, crucially, releasing their pharmacy experts to focus on medicines optimisation.
Current VAT regulations allow medicines dispensed to hospital outpatients by third-party providers to be zero rated.
Funding released creates the potential to improve the patient experience through changes to the outpatient pathway.
However, according to Celesio UK’s head of healthcare operations, Adam Crampsie, this is not the only driver for trusts.
He said: “It’s no surprise that pressures in the NHS have become even greater than they were eight years ago. But the review of operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals by Lord Carter suggests that the solution to getting the best value out of the NHS budget lies in operational change.
“Lord Carter’s recommendations say that, in order to maximise efficiencies, infrastructure services should be delivered through collaborative or shared service type-models, suggesting that such services do not always need to be delivered by NHS employed staff.
“Partnerships between community pharmacies and hospital trusts offer a broad range of benefits including long-term financial benefits and a more-streamlined service.
Challenging traditional models of care and understanding how healthcare providers can work together allows us to maximise efficiencies
“Patients benefit from reduced waiting times and they appreciate an environment more akin to their local community pharmacy while still benefitting secondary care trained staff providing high quality counselling.
“Freeing up hospital staff time to help improve adherence and reduce waste could speed up discharge and deliver real, tangible cost savings ward by ward."
David Pitkin, chief pharmacist for York Hospital, added: “Challenging traditional models of care and understanding how healthcare providers can work together allows us to maximise efficiencies.
“Bringing an external provider like LloydsPharmacy into the hospital setting allows hospital staff to be redeployed to do what they do best, providing clinical support at the bedside.”