Sunshine Coast University Hospital

I recently had an operation at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. The surgical staff, nursing staff and admin were all great. Even the food was OK.
The pharmacy did not have all my medication. The silly part is that I had my medications all made up in what are called Webster Packs by professional pharmacists but the hospital will not use them.(?) So the wonderful nurses who are trained for more important stuff would chase around the hospital wards to hunt up suitable medications which might be laying around from another patient.
If this is some “suit” trying to save a bit of money, it is costing, because nurses are professionals whose time is valuable.

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My visits have always allowed me to provide my packs, the problem occurs if some medications need to be removed from a pack or strip, if not in the original dispensed package some can be hard to identify correctly in the short time staff may have. They definitely don’t want to mix up the drugs if some are contrary to current requirements.

If they are ever concerned, they ask me to get the tablets in the original packaging so they are sure what they are giving me. I hope that helps explain the problem you faced.

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We have had a neighbour face the same problem. At home he uses Webster packs, but his recent visit to hospital, had to take all prescribed medications in original packaging. I know, as I carried a ‘shopping bag’ of medication packets into the hospital for him when dropping him off.

@grahroll is right with the following as well…

Our neighbour was also told when in hospital, health wise, one is under the management by physicians in the hospital. Depending on why one is visiting the hospital, these physicians may add, remove or change doses of medications one usually takes. This is also why Webster packs aren’t accepted as it becomes difficult to change the medicines being dispensed as they are all bundled in the one blister.

The other problem is medicines don’t have doses on the tablets, so if a hospital physician changes the dose, they can’t readily determine what the dose is in the blister within the Webster pack.

If they need to stop a medication being taken, which can often occur where medications may increase surgery risks and recovery, opening every Webster pack, finding the medication and dealing with remaining medications becomes far more challenging.

I am surprised the hospital didn’t say in pre-admission information that any medication usually taken must be brought to hospital in original packaging. Such requests are common.

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In one small way you aren’t wrong. The nurses seem to break hospital rules and use medications from the Webster because the lack of hospital provided pharmaceuticals creates problems for them.

I did not bring my packs.

The issue is that in what I observed to be be an excellent hospital with caring and fine professionals, this pharma situation lets everyone down.

As the physicians in the hospital didn’t prescribe the medications in the Webster pack, the nurses can’t dispense them. Hospital physicians won’t prescribe them as they don’t have your medical history. This is why one has to take their own to hospital.

The purpose of a hospital pharmacy is to dispense medications to patients which are in the hospital, with those dispensed prescribed by a hospital physicians.

That is one of a number of possibilities. The best chance of getting an answer is to write to the hospital. The more specific the information you provide e.g. dates, times, ward and names of medications, the less likely they are to give you a general (not helpful) answer.

You could also ask for clarification about the use of Webster packs as this might lead to a better experience if you find yourself back at SCUH.

It’s not immediately evident from the admission advice for SCUH that a Webster pack is not acceptable. It may be contained elsewhere in the hospital information? Poor communication if that is how it is.
Staying in hospital | Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service

The advice includes non prescription medications, etc. Our previous experiences of admissions have been that the hospital relies on the patient to advise what their current medications and requirements are.

The labelling on the Webster pack should include the date and time for each included medication in a sealed compartment/s as required. When one turns up at hospital, even with prescriptions and as boxed pharmaceuticals the hospital remains reliant on the patient not omitting some or bringing a different dose to that most recently prescribed. One could suggest a Webster pack is more reliable for some patients.

An alternate view - the Brisbane Mater mentions it does not accept medications in Webster packs. Although that advice is not provided in the what to bring to hospital section at the front of the admission advice document. It’s at p12 of a 16 page doc which some may skip given it appears to be referring to the in hospital pharmacy services.