New digital pharmacy system implemented in Wales

The new pharmacy system will improve patient care by providing greater consistency and standardisation

9th February 2022 about a 2 minute read
“This is an opportunity to do things better, together collaboratively, consistently and in a standardised manner.” Berwyn Owen, chief pharmacist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

NHS Wales has completed implementation of a new hospital pharmacy system in 28 sites in all seven health boards and one trust across the country.

The system, which replaces 30-year old software, is designed to provide better performance, greater reliability, and more efficient medicines management for its 2,500 users. Using nationally recognised standards, it links medication dispensing and usage data by allowing for a more comprehensive, real-time view of information. The expectation is that this standardisation will result in safer and more consistent patient care. Having a single national system will result in standard labels on hospital medications, for example.

Using software developed by CareFlow Medicines Management, previously known as WellSky, the project was implemented by Digital Health and Care Wales and funded by the Welsh government’s Digital Priorities Investment Fund.

A ‘brilliant opportunity’ for hospital pharmacy

Berwyn Owen, the chief pharmacist of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “The modernisation and standardisation of the Welsh Hospital Pharmacy Stock Management System across Wales has not just modernised an outdated system but it has given hospital pharmacy a brilliant opportunity.”

He added: “This is an opportunity to do things better, together collaboratively, consistently and in a standardised manner.” One of the benefits, he said, was an All Wales medicines file that would make it possible to “accurately check stock across Wales and talk about the same medicines products in the same way. We can build on this, and more, to continually optimise and improve, knowing that we are all on the same hymn sheet and therefore no one is excluded from the journey.”

Rosslyn Sharp, lead pharmacist in Hywel Dda Health Board, said that the consistency would help put patients at ease.

Eluned Morgan, the minister for health and social services, said that deploying a system across Wales in a single year was an impressive achievement during a pandemic. She added: “These new digital systems will enable staff to work more efficiently and spend more time caring for patients.”

The implementation marks the first step in the Welsh government’s journey to implement national electronic prescribing and medicines administration.