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Perspectives of pharmacists in general practice from qualitative focus groups with patients during a pilot study

Mann, Claire; Anderson, Claire; Boyd, Matthew; Karsan, Yasmin; Emerson, Tristan

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Claire Mann

Yasmin Karsan

Tristan Emerson


Background: Utilising skill mix in general practice is proposed as a solution to the demand–supply issue. Pharmacists can play an important role in this context, leading to an increase in training and funding for independent prescriber roles. A role for pharmacists in general practice was funded, piloted, and evaluated by NHS England (NHSE) from 2015. Aim: To answer the following question: what is the patient perspective of pharmacists in patient-facing roles in general practice in the UK? Design & setting: Focus group interviews exploring patient perspectives on the pharmacist role in the UK. Method: Thirty-four patients were interviewed in five focus group (January–December 2016). Data were iteratively analysed using the one sheet of paper technique. Results: While the public were aware of the primary care crisis, they were less well informed about potential solutions. Data showed patients primarily sought access to a clinician over expressing a preference for any type of clinician. Low awareness was shown about the pharmacist role and there was initial confusion about it. Acceptability levels were high. It was found that pharmacists added value and provided an expert medication-focused service, which had a positive impact on medicines use. Patients reported benefit from longer appointments, feeling they were not rushed, and that all their conditions were being considered holistically. They trusted pharmacists as experts in medication and trust was consolidated over time. Regular coaching from a pharmacist could lead to improved patient self-monitoring and self-care. Conclusion: Pharmacists can add value to the general practice team and this is recognised by patients.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 24, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2022
Publication Date Jun 1, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 9, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2022
Journal BJGP Open
Electronic ISSN 2398-3795
Publisher Royal College of General Practitioners
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Article Number BJGPO.2021.0112
Keywords Family Practice
Public URL
Publisher URL


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