by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS


Following my post on the Health and Social Care Bill going through parliament and my rant at and public roasting of the British Medical Society, I promised to try and get an interview with one my great mentors, Dr Mark Tomlin – Consultant Pharmacist in Critical Care at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Guess what? I pulled it off – again! In this interview he talks about his role in Critical Care and in general about what the roles of the Hospital Clinical Pharmacists (HCP) are. I enjoyed the interview a lot and I hope you would too…(March 2012)


Hello Dr Tomlin, I have known you now for about 14 years and you have been a great mentor of mine in that time. I posted a piece in February last year (1) eluding to the quality of your clinical leadership. For those listening for the first time, can you please describe briefly your current role and how you got here?



  1. Comprehensive critical care: a review of adult critical care services (Department of Health 2000)
  2. The Critical Care Programme: Modernisation of Critical Care Services (source: Intensive Care Society)


A Hospital Clinical pharmacist’s role is a bit of an enigma. Can you please shed some light on what it is they actually do?


The anacronym described by Dr Tomlin for the role of HCS is:

S – supply chain understanding and intelligence
P – posology/product knowledge
E – in-depth understanding of errors: why they occur and how to prevent them
C – expertise in calculation and pharmacokinetics
I – medication interaction management
F – in-depth understanding of formulation of drugs
I – management of IV incompatibilities
C – pharmacology & therapeutics


Have you got evidence to back up the importance of their role?



  1. Department of Health. Health Services Management. The Way Forward for Hospital Pharmaceutical Services. HC(88)54. London: HMSO, 1988
  2. A spoonful of sugar – Audit Commission
  3. Barr, P. J., McElnay, J. C. and Hughes, C. M. (2012), Connected health care: the future of health care and the role of the pharmacist. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 18: 56–62. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01522.x LINK
  4. A pharmacist-led information technology intervention for medication errors (PINCER): a multicentre, cluster randomised, controlled trial and cost-effectiveness analysis (SUMMARY OF FINDING)
  5. Tomlin M (1995) The economic climate and hospital pharmacy: a comparison between Australia and the United Kingdom Link
  6. Tomlin M (1995) Value analysis of hospital pharmaceutical services – pharmacy: expensive or valued? Link
  7. Emerson A, Martin RM, Tomlin M, Mann RD. (2001) Prospective cohort study of adverse events monitored by hospital pharmacists. Hospital Adverse Event Monitoring Study (HAEMS) Group. Link
  8. Moloney N, Hogg J, Tomlin M (2001) Measuring the risk management contribution of Pharmacy. European Journal Hospital Pharmacy; 7(3)
  9. Tomlin M (2005) Clinical Nutrition – pharmacist prescribing of parenteral nutrition. Hospital Pharmacist: 12(1); 17-20
  10. Tomlin M, Borthwick M, Forrest R, Young K, McKenzie C (2005) New ways of working for pharmacists in Critical Care. Hospital Pharmacist: 12; 363-365.
  11. Tomlin M, Nichols J (2006) Independent pharmacist prescribing as a natural extension to hospital prectice. Pharm J 6th May


With new evidence (co-authored by Sir Bruce Keogh – NHS Medical director) suggesting that weekend deaths is ‘higher in English hospitals’ (2), do you think the hospital clinical pharmacists have a role to play in solving this problem?




How do you see the role of the HCP changing in the future?



It clearly is a demanding job. How do you strike the balance between your role in Critical care and family life? And have you any tips for aspiring HCP?


Thank you very much for your time Dr Tomlin.

By the way, Dr Tomlin is a keen supporter of charities dedicated to the preservation of nature. So he supports charities like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), National Trust and the Royal Society of Protection of Birds. His sentiments are: If you muck up the nature, you muck up everything! Please make a donation to any of the charities, if you can. Thanks for listening. We are making a difference and offering the pharmacists’ perspective!