The primary role of the Pharmacy Department at Addenbrooke's is to care for patients of Addenbrooke's, through ensuring the best use of medicines, and providing information about medicines to both patients and to the professionals who treat them.

Purpose and objectives:

To ensure excellent pharmaceutical care of patients and optimal use of resources committed to medicines and their use. This is achieved by meeting two objectives, namely to ensure:

  • The efficient and economic procurement and distribution of medicines.
  • The informed, safe and cost-effective use of those medicines.

In achieving our purpose and objectives, the following characterise our values and style of work:

  • Always acting in the interests of the patient and other customers;
  • Acting both within the law and in keeping with professional guidance.
  • Having a willingness to learn new techniques and keep up to date;
  • Involving all staff throughout the Department in the development of service provision.
  • Fostering an environment that encourages staff development.
  • Teamwork with other professionals with whom we work.
  • Striving to raise the profile of the Pharmacy Department both within and outside the Trust.

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We endeavour to give clear instructions for all the medicines dispensed, whether it is given on the label or a patient-information leaflet, or verbally. Sometimes, you might have further questions that you wish to ask about your medicines such as:

  • How and when to take them.
  • The effects of taking them with other medicines.
  • Whether you can drink alcohol with the medicines.
  • Problems that your medicines can cause.

We regret that we can only advise you about the medicines that have been given to you at Addenbrooke's.

For advice about:

  • Medicines prescribed by your own general practitioner (GP) or other doctor, please contact them directly with any questions.
  • Your illness: again, ask your doctor - s/he will know your medical history.
  • Other people's medicines; they should ask their doctor.

Service overview

  • Inpatient-dispensing services
    A dispensing service is provided from the Inpatient Pharmacy to all inpatients (during admission and at discharge), and to ward-based outpatient clinics in Addenbrooke's and the Rosie Hospital. An out-of-hours service is provided for Addenbrooke's by ten resident pharmacists who live in 'pharmacy flats' on the Addenbrooke's site.


  • The Medicines Information Department
    Situated adjacent to the Inpatient Pharmacy, the department has a wide range of reference books and CD ROM facilities. Reference sources and literature-searching facilities are also available at the The pharmacy aspect of clinical trial management is also based in this Department.


  • Clinical and ward pharmacy services
    • Pharmacists and technicians work in all clinical Divisons. Pharmacists check prescription choices and assure patient medication safety; they apply Trust policies relating to medicines management.
    • Technicians ensure patients admission medication is checked, and new supplies made to ensure continuity and efficient discharge, be that to home or to residential/nursing care homes Patients are supported in administering their own medicines and receive counselling about medicine taking.
    • Senior staff in Divisons work in the wider team to manage the introduction of new medicines;audit medicines use and establish guidance and frameworks to support best prescribing practice. Pharmacists work with consultants to review all new medicine requests for use in the Trust.
    • Risk management to assure patient safety is a large part of what is achieved. Pharmacy staff work to remove any risks at ward level, but also address national alerts and guidance, to improve practice across the Trust, putting in place control systems and processes designed to eliminate medication risk. 


  • The Outpatient Pharmacy
    The Outpatient Pharmacy provides a dispensing service to patients attending outpatient clinics and the Accident and Emergency Department. The department has a large involvement in clinical trials. It is located near the entrance to Outpatients.


  • Central Pharmacy
    • The Pharmacy Stores and Distribution Centre is where pharmaceuticals are received and distributed to other parts of the Department, plus all ward and clinics. The majority of wards and departments now benefits from pharmacy materials management. The procurement of drugs (purchasing and stock control) is managed in the Central Pharmacy.
    • Quality control (QC) The work of this Unit is now turning towards quality assurance, health and safety and Committee on Substances Hazardous to Health (COSSH), plus medical-gas testing.
    • The Special Production Unit is involved primarily with compounding total parenteral nutrition (TPN, intravenous feeding solutions) solutions for adults, children, neonates, preparation of batches of chemotherapy; and sterile preparation of clinical trial medicines.
    • The pharmacy computer system is Ascribe. This supports procurement and dispensing, and provides information reports for the Trust business intelligence system. This provides Divisions with information about their use of medicines.
    • The Clinical Trials Unit operates receipt and storage of trials, plus organisational support for trials governance, that is safe systems of dispensing and records keeping. The team work closely with both the Trust research and Development team; national and regional research bodies and the pharmaceutical industry.


  • Clinical Oncology Dispensary
    Clinical Oncology Dispensary is where all aseptically prepared (ie in a sterile environment) chemotherapy for both inpatients and outpatients is dispensed.

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