Abstract Objective To provide quantitative data on pharmacist discharge prescription transcription service (PDPTS) provision in UK hospitals. Method Postal questionnaire survey of clinical pharmacy managers. Setting Selection criteria included one hospital in each acute trust in the UK. Key findings The response rate was 66% (135/206). In mid-2001, a PDPTS was provided by 49 hospital pharmacy departments (36%). PDPTS was the most common prescribing activity undertaken by pharmacists, followed by a prescription amendment policy (29%), prescribing in pre-admission clinics (18%) and re-writing drug charts (15%). 59 departments (44%) did not undertake any prescribing activity. Of the 86 non-transcribing hospitals, 69% undertook no prescribing activity (range = 0 to 3 prescribing activities). Transcribing hospitals offered a wider range of prescribing activities (range = 1 to 8 prescribing activities). A weak relationship was found between the number of pharmacists employed per hospital and the number of prescribing activities undertaken (correlation coefficient = 0.208, P = 0.018). The most frequently used PDPTS model (78%) involved pharmacists transcribing the discharge prescriptions for their own wards. The number of pharmacists transcribing discharge prescriptions per hospital ranged from 1 to 89 (mean = 8, mode = 2, median = 5, 25% percentile = 2, 75% percentile = 10). The majority of pharmacists (52%) reported writing less than five prescriptions per day; 35% were writing 5–10 prescriptions per day. The most common training requirement for pharmacists to start transcribing was an in-house training programme (55%). The majority of departments (80%) did not re-assess the ability of their pharmacists to transcribe. Conclusion Hospital pharmacy departments in the UK have started to take on prescribing roles, especially transcribing discharge prescriptions. However, it would appear that the majority of the PDPTS schemes are not being run extensively throughout the hospitals. It is of concern that the principles of clinical governance are not being met in terms of training and re-assessment of the pharmacists who are undertaking this service. The reasons why the service has developed in some hospitals and not others are not known. In order to extend this service, funding, resources and skill-mix maximisation need to be considered. This will enable patients to gain the maximum benefit from this service development.



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International Journal of Pharmacy Practice



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School of Health Professions