Health education provision through community pharmacies : an investigation of current practice and future potential.
This thesis reports an examination of the current and potential future role of community
pharmacists in the provision of health education. It explores what health education
services are currently offered by pharmacists and how these might be developed in the
future; it examines the extent to which pharmacy clients use these services and
establishes what additional services clients want; it describes the development and
implementation of four `intervention modes' of providing health education in
The main findings emerging from this study are as follows:
a. Currently, all pharmacists provide some health education, primarily through the
passive display of health information leaflets. Most pharmacists intend to
develop their health education activities, but are mindful of factors that hinder
b. Clients claim to be interested in the health information leaflets available in their
pharmacies, yet few actually use them. Thus, this mode of health education has
little positive impact. Health-related advice, as another health education service,
is widely given in connection with the dispensing of medicines but rarely
extends beyond the information already printed on packages. Advice given in
connection with clients' enquiry about non-prescription medicines, though more
informative, is usually coloured by pharmacists' commercial interests.
c. Generally, clients are positively inclined towards receiving advice from
pharmacists, but expect this to relate to a wider range of issues and to be of
higher quality than is currently the case. The provision of diagnostic testing
plays a very limited role in pharmacists' health education work.
d. The four intervention modes sought to promote the uptake of health information
leaflets by clients, and to encourage them to seek pharmacists' advice on health
matters. All resulted in an increased leaflet uptake, with three also producing
a creditable level of clients seeking advice.
The study has generated useful information about the current state of affairs in the
provision of health education by pharmacies and about how this provision can be
developed to make it more effective.