What is it about?

Whether a health professional or otherwise, working 'on-call' is something people are both familiar with and forms a large part of many careers, but most commonly associated with healthcare. Despite this, what on-call work entails for hospital pharmacists and the impact it has on staff, patients and hospitals as a whole is poorly understood. This report aimed to quantify exactly the number and type of calls hospital pharmacists were answering while they were working on-call in a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in Scotland.

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Why is it important?

As the NHS faces increasing pressures in the current climate, pharmacy is increasingly being looked at to provide cost-savings and solutions to help with financial difficulties. On-call work may become an area where solutions could be found in the future. Whether through re-design or through small improvements, pharmacists must first understand the nature of their existing on-call setups.


I hope this report can help people understand an area of the NHS that is poorly understood, not just in pharmacy, but across the health professions. I am sure that most people will either have worked, or will know a family member or friend, who has worked 'on-call' in some capacity. It is often stressful regardless of the job and is an area that I think needs some attention and some innovative ideas. I really enjoyed working on this report, and I hope that at the least it will help people understand the area a bit more and hopefully help improve it.

Mr Andrew David MacFarlane
University of St Andrews

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: On-call pharmacy services: a perspective from the Royal Alexandra Hospital (NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde) and comparison with NHS Tayside, Scotland, European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, August 2019, BMJ, DOI: 10.1136/ejhpharm-2019-001938.
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