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The Pharmacy Supply Chain consists of teams that procure, receipt store, manage and distribute the pharmaceuticals and medical gases used throughout the Trust. A brief overview of each team is listed below.


The pharmacy has its own Distribution team which provides a delivery and collection service to and from the pharmacy department. The CMFT site is one of the largest in the country with its many buildings, floors and reputedly 8 miles of corridors all presenting their own logistical problems.

The team are responsible for the daily delivery of patients’ medicines. Their timely delivery to the wards and departments plays an important part in reducing the turnaround time from the drugs being written, delivered to the patient and the patient being discharged if a discharge patient.¬†Many of the distribution team are now also trained in other aspects of the supply chain, assisting or providing cover to the other teams when they can.

Returns, Recycling and Waste Management

A hospital with so many wards and departments and a turnover of over a million patients a year will generate a lot of pharmaceutical waste. The Returns and Recycling area is responsible for receiving, sorting and then returning all drugs originating from the hospital back into the Supply Chain. Many innovative ideas were put in place to ensure the maximum number of drugs could be returned to the department. There are processes in place to ensure all drugs are suitable and safe for re-use and that their origin is traceable. The drugs re-introduction into the supply chain is fully documented on the pharmacy accounting system as well as on sheets detailing their batch numbers and expiry dates.

Dealing with the hospital pharmaceutical returns also means the team is best placed to manage the Waste Management policy for the department.

Stock Replenishment Unit

The Stock Replenishment Unit (SRU) is responsible for re-supplying the wards and departments on the Trust site as well as some external medical centres. Different levels of the re-supply service are provided to the wards and departments. These range from supplying only orders generated by the ward to the complete management of the ward stock by SRU including the re-ordering and restocking of the drug locations.


The team is responsible for the procurement of pharmaceuticals into the department. Many of these products are on national or regional contracts where prices have already been negotiated.

The Trust has a drugs budget of approximately £65m.

Store keepers

The pharmacy has over 3,000 items located in the dispensary and stores areas. The storage and maintenance of the stock is undertaken by the storekeepers. They are responsible for the correct storage and location of the products. Many products require temperature specific storage; consequently they are monitored using the Kelsius temperature monitoring system which the storekeepers maintain.

Medical Gases

The medical gases are supplied to the wards and departments either by cylinders or through pipelines. The Medical Gas Team visit each ward and department in a ‘milk round’ service exchanging cylinders one for one. The team also maintains a 24 hour all call service for pipeline gases.


The CMFT was one of the first Trusts to have an established and dedicated Clinical Homecare Team. Homecare services had been established at Booth Hall and Pendlebury so the team was created in 2009 when the Trust was formed on the Central site. It has since grown from two staff managing 600 patients to six staff managing over four thousand patients. It has amassed a wealth of experience on providing homecare services to many therapy groups.

The Trust is committed to increasing patient choice and reducing the cost of services, the homecare team will continue to play an important part in both.