Big plans afoot for GV Pharmacy
The GV Health Pharmacy - located in The Hub at the Graham St campus - provides a comprehensive service to patients in the region, and supports other areas of its health care team in all aspects of medicines management.
“We’re working with the redevelopment team to highlight ways we can better use technology for things like the distribution of medications,” said the Director of Pharmacy, Liam Carter. The pharmacy, which has recently undergone renovations – including an update of its cytotoxic and aseptic (clean) rooms – will be staying at its present location for the time being.
Planned expansion of chemotherapy and other services for oncology and haematology will require the building of a GV Health oncology precinct, which will require enhanced pharmacy services in that area. Mr Carter said this may mean a future move into the purpose-built facility.
“Our growth will be in things like the service profile for medical oncology,” he said. “Clinical pharmacy staff need a safe work space, but not an office. They generally spend a lot of time on the wards with patients.”
Mr Carter said his team’s present focus is on growing their range of services and support capabilities throughout the hospital and its partners, which include Seymour Health and other smaller services in the region.
“We’re also growing our support in Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS),” said Mr Carter. “Our involvement there includes telemedicine rounds - video-linking down to Royal Melbourne to ensure the correct use of antibiotics - and the physical presence of AMS team members on the wards.”
AMS roles aim to improve the appropriate use of antibiotics and reduce antibiotic resistance in patients.
The main role of hospital pharmacists is to promote the safe and effective use of medication by working with the healthcare team to ensure the selection of the best medication at the correct dose for the appropriate duration. Mr Carter said the pharmacy team are constantly reviewing their practices and efficiencies in order to better service patients in the region.
“We’re a small, but cohesive team,” he said. “Working together on the wards with the doctors, nurses and other health professionals to ensure patients’ medication needs are covered and patients’ questions answered.”
He says the team endeavour to see as many patients as possible before they are discharged.
“Ideally, we try to see as many patients as possible when they come in,” he said. Mr Carter’s team also manufacture specialised medications for chemotherapy patients, offer specialised drug therapy advice to healthcare professionals, and are passionate about providing a safe and efficient drug distribution system.
New technologies for distribution are a critical part of the pharmacy’s evolving role in the redeveloping GV Health campus. Mr Carter said he and his team are looking at new ways to support wards by exploring new equipment for supplying medication. This will include the further expansion of the MedDispense System (see breakout).
The pharmacy team also monitors medication in order to prevent or minimise side-effects and drug interactions, provides counselling to patients, and dispenses medications for patients in wards, the emergency department and outpatient clinics.
Mr Carter said the pharmacy is always looking at methods for improving medication safety with the clinical staff in the hospital, and is confronting issues of concern to encourage the best use of medications, which also includes regular lectures for patients.
“It’s great to meet and get to know people throughout the service,” said Mr Carter, who has been with GV Health for three years.
“Building a team is an exciting experience, but recruitment can be a challenge. We’re looking at increasing our workforce with more pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for the new development.”
The GV Health Pharmacy has enough space, with correct management of inventory, to service the hospital. Mr Carter said the service has no need to warehouse medications, as the hospital medication supply chain is very efficient when it comes to the delivery of medication. The aim of the service is greater throughput and efficiency, not holding onto large volumes.
“Medication only works in the patient - it can’t do that on the shelf,” said Mr Carter.
“The idea is to improve desired health outcomes by administering it safely and effectively!”