OBJECTIVES: To determine the views of pharmacy staff on a departmental response to wave 1 of the UK COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform a strategy for a second wave at two large UK National Health Service (NHS) hospitals .
METHODS: This study was undertaken at two large teaching hospitals in the UK . Pharmacy staff attended local departmental focus groups . Staff attendance included pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants representing all pharmacy services including aseptics, ward-based services, dispensary/distribution and procurement . Responses were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis .
RESULTS: A total of 138 pharmacy staff attended the departmental focus groups . This study identified which pharmacy-related changes implemented in the first wave will be beneficial to take forward into a second wave . These included extending the hours of the pharmacy service to critical care, retaining the competence of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians redeployed to critical care during wave 1, development of standard operating procedures for changes in practice, delivering/posting of dispensed outpatient medication to patients' place of residence, maintenance of ward-based pharmacy services, use of the healthcare app PANDO to aid team communication, utilisation of remote-controlled drug ordering, deployment of a COVID-19 ward stocklist, procurement of ready-made bags/prefilled syringes of critical care medications, aligning the central intravenous additive service with critical care demand to reduce waste and establishment of a pharmacy response in line with the hospital's implementation plan .
CONCLUSIONS: This study has provided a number of recommendations for how hospital pharmacy departments may respond to a global pandemic . These experiences derived from the pharmacy departments at two large UK NHS Trusts may be used by other healthcare providers to help inform the pharmacy response to a global pandemic.