A Study of Ward Based Inventory Issues at Wythenshawe Hospital

Client: University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (Wythenshawe Hospital Pharmacy)
Student: Sarah Jewkes
Supervisor: Professor Linda Hendry (MSc OR Project)


The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust provides a wide range of health services including general medical, surgical, maternity and emergency services to a local population of approximately 470,000 people. The project was undertaken with Wythenshawe Hospital Pharmacy, which provides pharmaceutical care to all in-patients and out-patients attending the hospital. The main aim of this project was to look at issues with the supply of stock medicines to the wards. Currently the inventory level of stock medicines is checked weekly in each ward, and medicines are ordered to bring the stock up to a predetermined level (referred to as top-up levels), which varies for each drug.

A large part of the project was the analysis of demand data for each drug, leading to the identification of optimal top-up levels for each drug, which could lead to significant savings. An Excel template was developed, which will enable optimal top-up levels to be investigated at other wards too. In addition, possible safety and security issues concerning storage of drugs within the wards and the transfer of drugs from the pharmacy to wards were investigated through observations in the wards, interviews with staff and questionnaires. Several recommendations for improvement were made. Finally, the potential value of automated dispensing cabinets was examined via trial experience at other hospitals in the area. This will aid local decision making on the issue.