Harefield pharmacists win ‘Best Team of the Year’ award

Harefield’s pharmacy team has won a prestigious national award, recognising in particular the innovations its pharmacists introduced during the pandemic.

The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland gave the Harefield team the ‘Best Pharmacist Team of the Year' award at its UK-wide Nurses and Allied Healthcare Professionals 2022 event. 

The organisation addresses the interests of patients, cardiothoracic surgeons, and nursing and other Allied Health professionals involved with cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery or congenital heart and lung surgery. 

“We feel extremely proud to have won and grateful for the encouragement and support from our colleagues,” said Nisha Bhudia, lead pharmacist, Critical Care and Anaesthesia, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals. “This award highlights the pharmacy team’s impact in improving and enhancing patient care and the important contributions we deliver within the organisation by working together with the wider multidisciplinary teams.” 

The pharmacy team are involved throughout a patient’s care, working together with surgeons, surgical teams, intensivists, and multidisciplinary teams. 

“The pharmacists see all the patients pre-operatively; we are on the ward rounds, follow the clinicians and have an input on the clinical care of the patients and at discharge when the patient goes home.” 

As part of the drive for continuous innovation, the critical care and surgical pharmacy team are working together to develop a new way to prepare patients for cardiac surgery. Patients are shown a video of their surgical journey before surgery to prepare them for their operation.

“We continue to implement new technologies to help our nursing staff. We’ve got robots and automated dispensing cabinets at ward level. We are one of the few centres to have introduced an electronically-controlled drug register, which has increased efficiency,” Bhudia added.  

As part of its award entry, Harefield Hospital’s pharmacy team highlighted how they responded with flexibility and resilience to the challenges of the pandemic, paying particular attention to Covid-19 hospitalised patients, identifying urgent patients and contributing to discussions around medicines for high-risk patients. 

The award entry featured a video to highlight all their innovations, which can be seen here.

To address the move to virtual clinics and reduce hospital attendance, the pharmacists adapted the pre-operative service, allowing elective cardiothoracic surgical patients to be reviewed prior to surgery via a virtual clinic. 

The team also worked with the intensivists and anaesthetists to address drug shortages. They developed a plan for therapeutic alternatives and advised on drug switching and adjunctive therapy.

Zainab Khanbhai, a senior surgical pharmacist at Harefield Hospital, said: “During the pandemic, when many normal services had stopped, Harefield hospital was a designated Cardiac Centre. The pharmacy team attended the cardiac meetings, where we identified and prioritised urgent patients for surgery. We optimised their medication and provided bespoke medication plans.” 

“We wanted to support these patients during this time. We could bring them into surgery sooner, or some people avoided the risk of going into hospital because we could manage their symptoms better. We have a drive in our pharmacy to be the best we can be.”