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Ward delivery of intravenous fluids

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Re-engineering the system for IV fluid delivery and closing the fluid store allowed savings for the hospital and more time for pharmacy staff without reducing service levels

Janet Watkinson
BSc PhD MRPharmS

Chief Pharmacist

Hinchingbrooke NHS Healthcare Trust
Huntingdon
Cambridgeshire
UK

Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust is a small district hospital in the east of England. Along with many similarly sized organisations, it is having a difficult time in balancing its books. One way to reduce expenditure is to reduce the footprint of the hospital. In February 2007, the pharmacy department was asked to close its fluids store based in the supplies area of the hospital, as the site was being made ready for sale.

This was problematic for the pharmacy department. There was no possibility of moving the fluids store to an alternative site within the hospital, as there was no space anywhere else that was suitable for storing the volume required. We decided to re-engineer the system in such a way that routine deliveries of fluids were made directly to wards and units, and minimal (emergency) stocks were held in the pharmacy.

In selecting an organisation to take on the logistics, several capabilities were essential. First, the company had to be able to make a single delivery to each ward or unit that included all the large-



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