A subjective study of how community pharmacists in Great Britain spend their time

Paul M. Rutter*, Adrian J. Hunt, R. Darracott, Ian F. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasingly, community pharmacists are expected to provide a greater range of pharmaceutical services. However, the fact remains that nobody really knows what they do and how long they spend doing it. This study attempted to gain baseline information, on a national scale, as to how community pharmacists spend their time. The study took place on a different day each week over seven successive weeks and involved all stores belonging to a national pharmacy chain. Pharmacists were asked to estimate how much time they spent on 16 pre-defined categories that represented their work. One thousand and eighty four usable replies were analysed. Dispensing accounted for the largest proportion of their time, 37 per cent (±1 per cent), prescription monitoring 12 per cent (± 0.6 per cent) and counselling patients 6.7 per cent (± 0.2 per cent). Work attributed to the provision of services for the National Health Service (NHS) occupied nearly 70 per cent of the pharmacists' time, whereas time spent on professional activities accounted for less than a third of their time. Variation between time spent on the 16 categories for each day of the week was generally minimal. However, time spent on patient oriented services such as counselling and responding to symptoms was higher at the weekend. The methodology employed was simple, easy to apply, inexpensive and appears to be reproducible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-261
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998


  • Great Britain
  • Job analysis
  • Pharmacists, community
  • Subjective evaluation
  • Time studies


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