Prescribing in community pharmacy : barriers and opportunities
This thesis describes the history of community pharmacy, and the current climate which has identified an extended role, particularly for 'over-the-counter' advice in response to symptoms and the reclassification of medicines. An electric methodology has been used to define current community pharmacy practice in Scotland, and to assess the attitudes of community pharmacists and GPs to an extended community pharmacy role. Attitudes of community pharmacists to medicines reclassification have been assessed nationally, and implications quantified. Clinical pharmacy guidelines for the treatment of dyspepsia have been developed and evaluated. A range of opinion formers have been interviewed to identify the different agenda which have contributed to medicines reclassification. Most of the more innovative tasks proposed are not yet commonly practised in Scotland. However most community pharmacists favour the extended role and the reclassification of medicines. Reclassification has little financial advantage for the community pharmacist, but would benefit the patient and the NHS. GPs were generally supportive of the extended role of the community pharmacist and the reclassification of medicines with a few caveats. These could be overcome by clinical pharmacy guidelines, which we demonstrated to have utility, patient acceptability and an educational value. Representatives of the medical and pharmaceutical professions, the government, the industry and the patient, revealed three agendas which have all influenced medicines reclassification. The government wish to shift the costs from the NHS to the patient. The industry wish to find additional markets and the pharmaceutical profession need a new paradigm to replace their largely redundant technical dispensing role. It is concluded that it is an opportune time for the community pharmacists to extend their professional role.