Comparison of pharmacist and public views and experiences of community pharmacy medicines-related services in England
Received 17 May 2016
Accepted for publication 14 July 2016
Published 9 September 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 1749—1758
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen
Ruth M Rodgers, Shivaun M Gammie, Ruey Leng Loo, Sarah A Corlett, Janet Krska
Medway School of Pharmacy, The Universities of Greenwich and Kent, Chatham Maritime, UK
Background: Services provided by community pharmacists designed to support people using medicines are increasing. In England, two national services exist: Medicine Use Reviews (MUR) and New Medicines Service (NMS). Very few studies have been conducted seeking views of the public, rather than service users, on willingness to use these services or expectations of these services, or determined whether views align with pharmacist perceptions.
Objective: To compare the perceptions of pharmacists and the general public on medicines-related services, particularly MUR and NMS services.
Methods: Two parallel surveys were conducted in one area of England: one involved the general public and was administered using a street survey, and the other was a postal survey of community pharmacists. Similar questionnaires were used, seeking views of services, awareness, reasons for using services, and perceived benefits.
Results: Response rates were 47.2% (1,000/2,012 approached) for the public and 40.8% (341/836) for pharmacists. Few people had experienced a discussion in a private consultation room or were aware of the two formal services, although their willingness to use them was high. Pharmacists estimated time spent on service provision as 10 minutes for MUR and 12 minutes for NMS, which aligned with acceptability to both pharmacists and the public. Pharmacists underestimated the willingness of the public to wait for an informal discussion or to make appointments for formal services. Both pharmacists and the public had high expectations that services would be beneficial in terms of increasing knowledge and understanding, but public expectations and experiences of services helping to sort out problems fell well below pharmacists’ perceptions. People who had experienced a pharmacy service had different perceptions of pharmacists.
Conclusion: Views differed regarding why people use services and key aspects of service delivery. For services to improve, the pharmacy profession needs a better awareness of what the public, especially those with potential to benefit from services, view as acceptable and desirable.
Keywords: community pharmacy, public opinion, pharmacist perceptions, medicines-related services
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