Delivery of pharmaceutical services at ward level in a teaching hospital.

Natalie Schellack*, V. Martins, N. Botha, Johanna Catharina Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Poor management of pharmaceuticals could lead to wastage of financial resources and poor services in the public sector. The main aim of the study was to investigate the quality of pharmaceutical services at ward level in a teaching hospital. The design of the study was descriptive. Three data collection instruments were designed and pilot-tested prior to the actual data collection. Two structured questionnaires were used to interview the sister-in-charge of each ward and the stock and drug controller at the pharmacy. A checklist for the management of pharmaceuticals was completed for each ward. Descriptive statistics were used to describe and summarise the data. Sisters-in-charge of 30 wards and the stock and drug controller at the pharmacy participated in the study. The relationship with the pharmacy was perceived to be average by 54% (n = 30) of the sisters-in-charge of the wards. Communication with the pharmacy was mainly by telephone and 57% of the sisters-in-charge mentioned that they experienced difficulties in conveying messages to the pharmacy. Ten of the wards received regular ward visits by a pharmacist. Expiry dates were checked by all wards but at different intervals. The majority of the wards (90%) used patient cards, which refer to prescription charts, for stock control and ordering from the pharmacy. Fridge temperatures were checked and charted on a daily basis by 30% of the wards. Written standard operating procedures (SOPs) were used by the pharmacy for issuing ward stock. Although 83% of the wards indicated that they used SOPs, evidence of written SOPs was not available. The results indicated that the management of pharmaceutical services at ward level could be improved. Implementation of appropriate communication systems will enhance cooperation between the pharmacy and the wards. A uniform ward stock control system, either by computer or stock cards, should be introduced. Regular ward visits by a pharmacist to oversee ward stock management are recommended. Standard operating procedures for use in the wards should be developed and implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


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