The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which primary care practitioners (doctors and nurses) use a secondary care-based medicines information service and to discover how nonusers of the service answer medicine-related inquiries. A self-administered mail survey was distributed to the target population from three primary care trusts (a primary care trust is responsible for all healthcare needs of its geographically bound population; on average, each primary care trust covers 170,000people) in Southern England. The main outcome measures of the study were to identify current users, determine awareness of the medicines information service among nonusers, and evaluate the sources of information used by nonusers when answering medicine-related enquiries.
Only 25% of the target population were current users of the medicines information service. Of the remaining respondents who were not current users, half were unaware of the service. Traditional information sources, such as the British National Formulary, were most frequently used to answer enquiries. Overall, doctors were more aware of and used the service to a greater extent than nurses. This study showed that primary care practitioners did not make the best use of the medicines information service resource available to them.
- Medicines information services
- Primary care practitioners