Community pharmacy minor ailment services in England: pharmacy stakeholder perspectives on the factors affecting sustainability

Hamde Nazar, Zachariah Nazar

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Abstract

Background - Self-care advice and management of minor ailments have long been provided in community pharmacies across England. However, formal pharmacy minor ailment service provision is geographically variable and has yet to gain recognition and political support as a valued sustainable service for nationwide adoption and commissioning.

Objective - To investigate the sustainability potential of pharmacy minor ailment services from the perspective of community pharmacy stakeholders within the North East of England.

Methods - A mixed methods approach was adopted to survey and interview stakeholders from the North East of England who commission; provide; and/or represent groups influencing the design, delivery and investment in community pharmacy clinical and public health services. The 40-item Programme Sustainability Assessment Tool, a validated instrument to assess a public health programme's capacity for sustainability across eight domains, was administered to fifty-three stakeholders, identified from a pharmacy minor ailments showcase event. The same stakeholders were invited for a semi-structured interview to explore issues further. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and underwent framework analysis.

Results - Forty-two (79.2% response rate) stakeholders representing commissioning, provider and influencing (e.g. Local Professional Network) organisations completed the assessment tool. Pharmacy minor ailment services were rated as unsustainable across the majority of the domains. Elements within the domain ‘Partnerships’ demonstrated potential for sustainability. Stakeholder interviews provided detailed explanation for the low scoring sustainability domains, highlighting the multifaceted challenges threatening these services.

Conclusion - The Programme Sustainability Assessment Tool allowed stakeholders to evaluate the potential of pharmacy minor ailment services in England. Follow-up interviews highlighted that initial design and implementation of services was poorly conceived and lacked evidence, thereby impeding the services' sustainability. There are many challenges facing a widespread provision of pharmacy ailment services, but it is clear the profession needs to be clear on the service objectives to secure future interest and investment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Early online date14 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 14 May 2018

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