Pharmaceutical Services

The department comprises a range of different services across the Trust from units at Antrim, Causeway, Holywell and Mid-Ulster Hospitals. The key aim of the service is to promote the safe, effective and economic use of pharmaceutical products, that is, drugs, dressings and medical and surgical disposables. This includes the preparation of specialist products when required and the provision of technical information to medical, nursing and other staff.

The main activities are as follows –

Pharmaceutical Product Supply
This involves the procurement, stock management and supply of a wide range of pharmaceutical products to users, both in the hospital and community sectors, including direct to patients.

Clinical Services
A comprehensive range of services are provided at ward level and to other staff, as well as patients and carers. This includes the taking of accurate drug medication histories, monitoring of medicines during hospital stay, as well as counselling of patients regarding their medicines, and completion of discharge prescriptions. These services have been further enhanced by the development of supplementary and independent prescribing pharmacists.

Aseptic and Cytotoxic Reconstitution Services
The department also provides a range of aseptic products for patients, including the provision of a centralised intravenous antibiotic reconstitution service, parenteral nutrition for both adults and children, as well as pain relief solutions.

In addition, at Laurel House at Antrim, as part of the Cancer Unit, the team provided services to Oncology, Haematology and Palliative Care. This involves the preparation specialised injectable medicines. Expert clinical pharmacist information is also provided to patients attending the Unit.

Medicines Information
The department also provides a comprehensive medicines information service to other staff within the Trust regarding pharmaceutical products and their safe and effective use. The Medicines Information service also supports a wide range of committees.

Community Service
There is a significant involvement with the provision of a service to community facilities with regard to vaccination programmes, family planning, podiatry, treatment rooms, etc.

Medicines Governance
The department is also responsible for ensuring that all aspects of medicines management processes across the Trust are safe and of high quality. This work includes, for example, ensuring that all National Patient Safety Alerts with regard to medicines and their use are fully implemented. Medication incidents reported within the Trust are also reviewed and analysed by the department, with incident investigations undertaken where relevant and learning shared across the Trust.

Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre (MOIC)
Medicines optimisation is defined by NICE as ‘a person centered approach to safe and effective medicines use to ensure the best possible outcomes from their medicines’. Medicines optimisation is becoming increasingly important as the population ages and as both reliance on medication and the complexity of medication regimens increases.

The aim of the newly established Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre (MOIC) is to work towards better patient outcomes by initiating, developing and sharing best practice with regards to medicines use. This will be achieved using a combination of research, innovation, quality improvement and knowledge transfer. Whilst based in the Northern Trust the team at MOIC work on a regional basis.

As well as establishing the Centre, the current key initiatives for MOIC include:

  • Involvement in EU grants which aim to improve patient care across Europe
  • Knowledge transfer in relation to pharmacy systems developed in NI to other parts of the UK and Europe
  • Continued development of integrated technology solutions which includes working with the European Connected Health Alliance
  • Training and development of other Health Care Professionals through welcoming visitors to NI from Europe and the middle East for training periods lasting up to 5 months

In addition to our core aim of improving patient outcomes, such initiatives in medicines optimisation will develop public / private cross-sector working thereby helping the local economy.

For further information on MOIC please visit

Centralised Decontamination
The department houses the Central Decontamination Unit at Antrim Hospital which is responsible for the re-processing of a wide range of medical and surgical devices for both use in the hospital and community sectors.

Other Useful Information
The department also has an Academic Practice Unit, run in conjunction with the School of Pharmacy, The Queen’s University of Belfast, which undertakes pharmacy practice research in order to further enhance and advice the service in terms of medicines management.

The Trust also houses the Regional Pharmaceutical Procurement Unit, which carries out this function for the province, covering an essential range of pharmaceutical products.

Location of Service
Antrim, Causeway, Mid-Ulster and Whiteabbey Hospitals

Hours of Opening (if applicable)
Monday – Friday 8.45 am – 5.00 pm Full Service Provision
Antrim Hospital
Mid-Ulster Hospital
Whiteabbey Hospital (Clinical Only)
Holywell Hospital
Causeway Hospital

Monday – Friday 5.00 pm – 7.00 pm Clinical Service Provision
Antrim Hospital

Saturday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Prioritised Service Provision
Antrim Hospital

Sunday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Prioritised Service Provision
Antrim Hospital

An emergency duty service is provided outside of these hours.

Contact Details for the Service
028 9442 4000 Ext 334458 – Antrim Hospital
028 7963 1031 Ext 316314 – Mid-Ulster Hospital
028 7032 7032 Ext 375617 – Causeway Hospital
028 9446 5211 Ext 323322 – Holywell Hospital
028 9086 5181 Bleep 4683 – Whiteabbey Hospital

Page last updated:10 March 2017