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Improving Safety and Efficiency of Pharmacy Dispensing Processes (ENG1321)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

To develop an analysis tool for evaluating safety, efficiency and resilience of community pharmacy dispensing processes.

Nearly 12 thousand community pharmacies in England which dispense over 1 billion prescriptions per year provide essential primary care to patients. These pharmacies are facing pressure from a number of sources including funding cuts and high demands on services, while trying to deliver the highest standards of care. Studies of dispensing error rates in community pharmacies have reported rates of between 0.08% and 3.3% per item dispensed. While severe cases of dispensing inaccuracies often garner a high level of media coverage, less significant errors are also causing inefficiencies in primary healthcare delivery. If a variety of dispensing and accuracy checking strategies could be analysed using a modelling tool, the results would form the evidence for decisions on best practice guidelines. This would lead to improved patient safety and pharmacy efficiency.

This is an exciting multidisciplinary project with supervisory expertise in reliability and resilience engineering and pharmacy. The project will develop an analysis tool for evaluating safety, efficiency and resilience of dispensing processes. Community pharmacy will be modelled by considering the causes of errors and recovery mechanisms once errors are identified, leading to safe outcomes for pharmacy customers. The model analysis will be used to propose the means for mitigating safety risks and improving process efficiency. These are the key goals in the current times when healthcare needs are expanding in ageing society, they are becoming more complex and resources are increasingly constrained.


Open to UK/EU/overseas students. For UK/EU students: there are EPSRC DTP studentships available within the Faculty, please apply for a PhD by the end of March 2020 so that this funding could be sought. Other funding sources are available at

Entry Requirements:

Starting October 2020, we require an enthusiastic graduate with a 1st class degree in engineering, science, maths or a relevant discipline, preferably at Masters level (in exceptional circumstances a 2:1 degree can be considered).

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged.

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