A survey carried out by the Patients Association has explored the experiences of patients and carers that have accessed pharmacists based in GP services.
They survey was carried out in summer 2016 and was completed by 300 people.
Of those who spoke to pharmacists about their medicines, 74% felt completely involved in discussions, and 15% felt somewhat involved.
The report identifies that there is a need for staff training to develop these skills in pharmacy to improve patient experience, as well as raising awareness to patients and families about that facet that they can be involved in decision making, when and how.
77% of people felt their pharmacist listened to them, and the same proportion found it easy to understand what their pharmacist was telling them.
69% of people who responded to the survey felt they didn’t have to see the GP after speaking to their clinical pharmacist.
The researchers highlight that patients often need clarification of medications, especially if they have been given several different prescriptions. The data gathered from the survey showed that a vast majority who had contact with a clinical pharmacist found reviewing their medication to be particularly useful to them.
They also found that a better understanding is needed by patients and carers of the role and function of clinical pharmacists as well as their qualifications and competencies. Patients and their families/carers need to be reassured that the clinical pharmacist is adequately qualified to be able to provide the advice needed and be provided with more information about the role of the pharmacist within the GP practice team.
Their recommendations include:
- A profile raising campaign should be targeted at the public to enable a better understanding of the role and function of pharmacists in GP practice teams as well as their expertise, knowledge and qualifications.
- Pharmacists should receive training in how to involve patients and carers in shared decision making and aspects of safety as part of the whole concept of working together as equals.
The full survey report can be found on the Patients Association website.