Ten years of effective partnership shows how healthcare collaborations can improve patient experience

LloydsPharmacy has been providing outpatient dispensing and pharmacy services to the Royal Liverpool University Hospitals Trust (RLUHT) for 10 years. To mark that anniversary, our head of healthcare and NHS pharmacy services, Kieran Doona talks about the value that partnerships like this can bring to our health service.

In any good partnership, both parties need to want the same things and be able to grow together. That’s exactly what we’ve found in our relationship with the Royal Liverpool University Hospitals Trust and the pharmacy team. We both put our patients at the centre of everything we do and over the last ten years we’ve been able to push each other to drive real improvements.

As Lord Carter stated in his 2016 report, collaborations and partnerships hold the key to a sustainable future for our health service. When we first opened our outpatient dispensary in 2009 at RLUHT, we set out to drive efficiencies for the Trust and free them up to focus on more urgent care needs. At the time, this was a pioneering, innovative approach and it has since gone from strength to strength not only in Liverpool but nationwide.

The operation itself has grown from fulfilling 300 items per week in 2009 to now doing over 1800 items per week. We’ve also managed to cut patient waiting times in half which has led to a satisfaction rate of over 93%.

We work really closely with Professor Alison Ewing, clinical director of pharmacy, and the pharmacy team at RLUHT. We have an open and honest relationship, with a healthy dose of challenge that has driven us to achieve success and drive continual improvement. It means we’re able to constantly review our services to make sure they are as effective, efficient and as patient-focused as possible.

Our partnership with the Trust has been so successful that it has evolved significantly in recent years. The pharmacy now dispenses and delivers IVF medicines direct to patients’ homes or local clinics on behalf of Liverpool Women’s Hospital. This service provides patients with more choice of how and when they receive their medication. We also recently opened another LloydsPharmacy outpatient dispensary at their hospital in Aintree.

Hospitals are vitally important institutions for the towns and cities that they serve, so it’s a huge honour for us to get to be a part of that. We all know that trips to hospital can be stressful, which is why improving that experience is one of our key objectives.

We are incredibly proud to provide outpatient dispensary services for over 45 hospitals across the UK. This is now a well-established proposition with a track record of helping hospitals to drive efficiencies and improve patient experience. Across these partnerships, not only have we helped Trusts to make average savings of over £1.6m, but we’ve also reduced waiting times, and improved the process of dispensing discharge medicines which helps patients to get home faster.

Time flies so fast when you’re this busy, but its great to be able to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come. Here’s to many more years of working together with the NHS.