WARD ISSUE SYSTEM
Section I. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
The ward issue system is used to dispense medications and stock solutions to
patient care areas for general use or for administration to a patient. These medications
are issued in bulk containers or as stock solutions. Generally, the patient care areas
order these items from the pharmacy based on established stock levels, and the items
are referred to as ward stock.
a. Less Frequent Ordering. Sufficient ward stock is ordered at one time to
meet required stockage levels. Usually, this is enough medication to last one week or
more between orders.
b. Use of Standard Materials. Generally, the containers, labels, and
medications are the same items as those used in the outpatient section.
c. Minimal Personnel Requirements. Far fewer pharmacy personnel are
required to serve a patient population under the ward issue system than would be
required for the same number of patients under the unit dose system.
d. Low Cost. Start up costs are minimal because equipment, medications,
supplies, and personnel are already in place within the pharmacy.
a. Medications Stocked Throughout the Hospital. Under this system, a large
number of drugs are stocked in all patient care areas, which increases the total
inventory. This may cause some items to expire before use.
b. Drug Identity is Compromised. The potential for medication errors
increases due to the number of people handling the items. Identical drugs with different
expiration dates may be mixed, allowing an expired drug to be given to a patient. Large
amounts of medication, rather than a single dose, may become contaminated.
c. Lack of a Patient Profile. The patient profile, discussed in lesson 2, is not
available in the ward issue system. Medications sent to wards are for general use, and
pharmacy personnel have no way of monitoring their use.