Barnstaple hospital scoops national award for cancer pharmacy system
By tinap | Thursday, February 14, 2013, 11:19
The North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple has won a top national award for its computerised cancer pharmacy system.
Rufus Smith (second right) is pictured at the London awards ceremony with (from left) Mike Smith and Martin Harper from Alliance Healthcare and host Rory Bremner
The NDDH was a winner in the Alliance Healthcare Pharmacy Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The computer database was developed by Rufus Smith, one of NDDH's own pharmacy experts, and allows the hospital to log and follow all aspects of patients' chemotherapy treatment.
The custom software creates daily treatment schedules and worksheets that simplify the types and amounts of medication to be made up.
Niall Ferguson, director of pharmaceutical services for the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "Rufus has done some pioneering work which has deservedly been recognised on a national scale.
"A great deal of effort goes into ensuring patients get the right treatment at the right time.
"Rufus' software has smoothed this process and brought great benefits in accuracy, simplicity and efficiency since it was introduced a year ago."
The software replaced a manual, paper-based system and has significantly reduced the need for checking and the time required to prepare cancer treatments.
Niall said up to £20,000 had been saved by developing the system in-house, free of charge.
He said: "There are similar packages out there but not with the capacity and functionality of our software.
"We've had interest in the system from other hospitals and may look to market it with the help of a professional company."
Rufus, the Trust's senior pharmacist for cancer and technical services, created the system in his own time and is looking to further develop it to enable medication to be tracked and broadcast live to the chemotherapy unit while it is being made.
There are also plans to predict treatments, which would speed up the delivery process.
Rufus collected the Alliance Healthcare Hospital Pharmacy Innovation Award and £1,000 in vouchers at the ceremony in London.
The event was hosted by impressionist Rory Bremner and was attended by over 650 of the UK's leading pharmacists and other guests.