The Patients Association is a national charity that acts as a champion for all patient groups. It gives patients the opportunity to raise concerns and share their healthcare experiences. The Patient Association recently commissioned a survey to gauge the current situation with community pharmacy. This was to find out if community pharmacy in Primary Care meets patient’s needs, if Primary Care as a whole is offering a seamless service and how patients view the changes proposed.
What is the background to this?
The Patients Association community pharmacy survey took place between 18th August 2008 and 1st September 2008. They looked at people’s accessibility to community pharmacies and their views about what they would like to see in the future. The association surveyed a random selection of over 2,500 of its members. They received 498 responses.
The Patients Association survey found that patients are finding a pharmaceutical service that is as variable as other parts of the health service. Respondents were generally willing to seek a wider range of services from pharmacies although there were some concerns, particularly around lack of confidentiality and access to pharmacies in rural areas.
What does this mean to medicines management?
Community pharmacy has an important role to play in local health economies. The public should be made aware of the wide range of medicines management services that are now available from many pharmacies. These services, together with the expertise and advice of community pharmacists, often require no appointment.
Improving confidentiality and developing the trust that patients already have in community pharmacy will increase patient confidence and lead to more effective partnerships between patients and their local pharmacist, thereby helping people to get the most from their medicine. Improving communication between community pharmacists, GP’s and other health professionals will support this process.
How does this relate to other publications or evidence?
The White Paper ‘Pharmacy in England, Building on strengths – delivering the future’1 published earlier this year, set out the Government’s plans for building on the strength of pharmacy to provide a more personalised system of care for patients. It also outlined the potential for pharmacy to contribute to the public health aims for improvement in health and well being in local populations.
This document will be of interest to General Practice, pharmacy, commissioners and primary care medicines management teams. Developing community pharmacy so that appropriate and more accessible services are available will put the emphasis on local patient care, as well as making better use of the skills of healthcare professionals.
Raising public awareness at local level, improving communication links and consulting with patients when commissioning medicines management services will help to achieve this.
- The Patients Association’s Report – Community Pharmacist here to Help
- The Patients Association website: The Patients Association – Healthcare Charity – Patient Opinions
1The Pharmacy White Paper, 2008