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Refer-to-Pharmacy is a fully automated system integrated with the Trust’s IT systems to allow the hospital pharmacy team to refer patients to their community pharmacist for post-discharge support with the medicines.

The aim is to help people get the best from their medicines and stay healthy at home. Patients eligible for NMS/MUR consultation-referrals are referred at any point during their hospital stay. Upon discharge Refer-to-Pharmacy automatically notifies the patient’s community pharmacy and allows the pharmacist to view the patient’s discharge letter securely. This enables the community pharmacist to view relevant clinical details, understand the context of any medication changes and provide the relevant care and advice.

The system also supports information-referrals from the point of admission enabling an early alert to halt the dispensing process for care home patients and those using blister-packed medicines; reducing medicines waste and saving community pharmacists time. Referrals are also made to domiciliary pharmacy teams for home visits to housebound patients. Referrals are made in seconds making it feasible to refer high numbers of patients.

Patients for consultation referrals are shown a film on their bedside TV explaining the benefits of referral to community pharmacy, so they are informed participants in the process.

More information can be found at

Refer-to-Pharmacy’s integration with Trust IT systems means that there is no need to re-enter the patient’s data, this is pulled from the Trust’s Patient Administration Systems (PAS) reducing the time it takes to make a referral. This also allows the referral processes to be automated meaning that the referral and discharge letter can be sent automatically when the patient is discharged. Because the system is integrated it is also able to alert the hospital user where a patient has been discharged without a completed discharge letter. This ensures the patient’s GP receives a completed discharge summary also.

It is estimated approximately 5% of patients don’t have a discharge letter completed and sent to their GP; so another clear safety gain. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society supports the scheme:

Refer-to-Pharmacy has been conceived to be spread to other health economies. The application requires an interface to the Trust’s IT systems in order to send and receive information relating to patients and their transfer of care. The interface uses common standards for Trust IT systems, but some local customisation is required to interface to a specific Trust’s IT systems.

Contact: [email protected].
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