Our pharmacy department is made up of approximately 70 people focussed on delivering a safe and efficient medicines service to our patients.

We continuously evolve our processes to ensure we meet the demands of our patients and hospital staff in delivering high standard medicines management services. The department is able to provide structured training posts for both pre-registration pharmacists and technicians including experience in patient services (dispensary), clinical ward services, technical services, purchasing and quality assurance. We have good links with London pharmacy education and training, who provide additional support to our trainees and qualified staff alike.

Our services

Ward-based clinical services

Our team involve pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in a range of specialities, where we regularly visit wards, meet and talk to patients, and support the ward nurses, doctors and other professionals. We have pharmacists specialising in oncology, surgery, advanced nutrition, renal medicine, cardiology and respiratory medicine, anticoagulation, HIV/AIDS, anti-infectives and medicines safety. A number of our specialist staff are prescribers in their own right and provide advanced medicines support to our patients. Some accompany consultants on clinical and teaching ward rounds so doctors can turn to them for advice before prescribing.

Our team of pharmacists review patient medication on a daily basis for clinical appropriateness and patient safety. Supported by our excellent team of Technicians we carry out detailed medication histories upon arrival to hospital, medicines supply and counselling for new medicines prescribed during your stay. As medicine specialists we are available to all patients and staff as an information service. This may include information relating to dosage, route of administration, drug calculations, drug interactions, drug side effects, and alternative treatments recommendations.

Dispensary services

The pharmacy dispensary team are responsible for the dispensing and accuracy checking of at least 200 outpatient prescriptions, 60 discharge prescriptions and inpatient medication supply for over 20 wards every day. We are helped in our work through the use of an automated dispensing robot and a prescription tracking system, both of which help us to reduce waiting times.

Our dispensary service, which handles around 6,000 items a week, helps to make sure patients get the best drug treatment by advising doctors on drug therapy and monitoring prescriptions for accuracy and safety. We participate in a number of medicine clinical trials for a number of specialties.

Our Outpatient department is open 09.00 to 17.30 Monday to Friday and 10.00 to 12.00 Saturdays, closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Technical services unit

All processes within our newly installed unit are quality assured.  The unit holds a manufacturer's 'Specials' Licence and ISO901:2008 which allows the provision of services to other trusts and organisations. The aseptic unit produces a traditional range of batched and individual aseptically prepared products. These include adult and neonatal intravenous nutrition (TPN), pain relieving devices (PCAs), and a wide range of ready-to-administer injectable medicines. One such product prepared are Alteplase in 5mg vials for the renal dialysis unit. This allows for better use of staff time, reduces wastage and has lowered prices for our customers. Our intravenous chemotherapy reconstitution unit provides on-demand chemotherapy preparations.

The pre-packing unit provides a range of ward and patient-labelled packs of tablets, capsules and other dosage forms. These are labelled to customer-specific requirements and include a barcode for use in robotic pharmacies. Our radiopharmacy unit dispenses radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic purposes. 

Products are supplied to both internal and external customers, and further information on all our services and products is available on request. 

Specialist cancer (oncology) service

Our service includes its own specialist pharmacy team and a satellite pharmacy in the chemotherapy unit. We provide a clinical expertise on cancer medicines to the chemotherapy and radiotherapy units and to our inpatient oncology wards.

The specialist oncology pharmacists design and utilise chemotherapy prescriptions in accordance with the Essex Cancer Network approved regimens list.  These are designed to uphold the highest standard of medicines safety with these potent medicines.  All requests for chemotherapy undergo a rigorous safety check according to local and national guidelines to ensure chemotherapy administration is both safe and appropriate prior to supply.

Quality Assurance (QA) department

Quality Assurance is housed in a brand new, purpose built facility at the hospital. We are responsible for ensuring the quality of all medicines manufactured, and distributed, within the Trust. In doing so we ensure the doses we make are safe and fit for use for all patients, by ensuring full compliance with the requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

To make sure we are doing everything we should do, and in the right way, we are regularly inspected by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), a Government agency completely independent from the hospital. We are also audited every six months by the British Standards Institute to make sure we comply with the standard set out in ISO 9001:2008.

The laboratory also provides services for several external Trusts within the South East and East London. Services include:

  • Providing microbiological and environmental monitoring of Aseptic Suites (these suites make individual drug doses to be given to patients)
  • Chemical analysis and documentation checks and controls of aseptically prepared batches, non-sterile creams, ointments and solutions, and extemporaneously prepared items
  • Control and release of purchased unlicensed 'Specials' medicines
  • Safety and purity testing of medical gas pipeline systems within hospitals (among other things this includes checking the Oxygen and Air outlets at the patients' bedside)

For further information please contact us via or by telephone using the number at the bottom of this page.

Out of hours

An on-call pharmacist provides a responsive out-of-hours service for hospital staff and patients during evenings and weekends. To speak to the on-call pharmacist when the dispensary is closed, please telephone the hospital switchboard.

Contact us

Pharmacy dispensary:                  01702 385223

Pharmacy technical services:   01702 385338

Pharmacy quality assurance:    01702 385340