Hospital staff ‘stunned’ as drug suite set to go north
Last updated at 11:26, Thursday, 06 February 2014
STAFF at West Cumberland Hospital are said to be “devastated’’ by a recommended plan to close the its aseptic services suite.
by Julie Morgan
Hospital bosses want to centralise the sterile areas, where they prepare pharmaceutical products, at the Cumberland Infirmary.
But one staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “The service the West Cumberland Hospital provides is superb. West patients are very safe and well looked after.
“This is just another excuse to transfer everything to Carlisle which is at odds with the fact that pharmacy staff from all over the country come to visit us to learn best practice.”
A decision was deferred to a future meeting so a more detailed report could be produced.
At present there are two aseptic suites, one at each hospital, which are used to manufacture substances, such as chemotherapy drugs.
At the recent board meeting, medical director Dr Jeremy Rushmer said that the service is outdated, with too many products being manufactured on site.
“I think there is a real clinical issue with what we use our aseptic suites for. It is a major issue for me,” he said. “The way we produce and standardise our medicines and use bespoke preparations here is something that gives me great patient safety concerns... I fully support the centralisation.”
Staff were said to be stunned by Dr Rushmer’s comments, which were published last week following a meeting of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust board.
One staff member at Whitehaven said: “This appears to take no account of the fact that many of the products have a very short life once prepared and can not be purchased off-site for a remote area such as West Cumbria.
“If the services at the West Cumberland Hospital are so bad why have they not been shut down already?”
Trust chief executive Ann Farrar said Carlisle was the preferred site because the most complex cases were treated there.
Les Morgan, director for West Cumberland Hospital said: “The decision to centralise internal aseptic production on one hospital site in the Cumberland Infirmary is to fit with organisation change and strategy and to ensure we are keeping up with modern clinical pathways.”
“Staff in the aseptic suite at West Cumberland Hospital have been kept fully informed of the decision and reasons behind it and a consultation will be beginning with those members of staff. It has never been suggested that any redundancies will be made as part of the centralisation and we very much value our staff in both suites.”
And he added: “There will be no service change at West Cumberland Hospital as a result of this and patients will continue to receive their treatment there in the same way they do now.”
First published at 10:02, Thursday, 06 February 2014
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
I read this article with total disbelief, before I retired in 2011 I was the pharmacist in charge of the aseptic suit. There is no way that CIC can cope with the workload needed for two hospitals. CIC is famous as the PFI joke unit designed by people who knew nothing about the technical requirements of a modern pharmacy aseptic unit. I feel the truth is that the management forgot to include a new unit in the new build and are desperately trying to avoid the "fall out". Before I left in 2011 I drew up plans for a new unit to incorporate producing the new biological and genetically engineered products in a fully modern unit,which would carry WCH forward for another 10-15 years in the rapidly expanding field of chemotherapy.
Who do you want to believe my word a pharmacist with 35 years experience in aseptic work in more than 6 different hospitals or some medic manager who knows nothing about the subject. There was nothing wrong with the aseptic unit and there is no major clinical issue and unless CIC has had major investment since I left in 2011, it cannot cope with the workload and should they suffer a breakdown, where will the service be then. In the past when breakdowns or maintenance were required the other unit covered for the other unit. You cannot cover with one unit.
Part of problem is also probably due to the lack of consultant cover caused by the retirement of consultant staff.
I used to be the pharmacy aseptic services manager until my retirement in 2011. I'm amazed at such a decision. Carlisle aseptic dept could barely cope with it's own work load before I left, it's waiting times were terrible, it was known as one of the worst units ever built, because it was built as part of the PFI scheme by contractors who had no idea of the technical requirements of a pharmacy aseptic unit.
What I suspect has happened is that the unit was forgotten about and has not been included in the new build, so to save embarrassment it's been moved north to save managements face. Before I left we had drawn up plans to include a new unit in the new build, but these were ignored. I am afraid Dr Jeremy Rushmer has no idea what he is talking about, and like most people who have no idea what they are talking about , he needs to shut up until he does know something about the technicalities of the matter. Its not just the chemo-therapy drugs by intravenous feeding and misc other items.
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