Evaluation of pharmaceutical services provided by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior and how they can be improved for optimisation of practice
Saudi Arabia has seen significant expansion in the delivery of healthcare services
during the past twenty years, accompanied by concern about the quality of medical
services offered to patients. The Ministry of Interior (MOD healthcare sector meets the
needs of MOI employees and their dependants scattered throughout the Kingdom. The
Security Forces Hospital (SFH) and General Administration of Medical Services
(GAMS) polyclinics are the only two healthcare providers of the free health services
in this sector.
Pharmaceutical managerial issues focus on ensuring that patients are consistently
provided with adequate and sufficient pharmaceutical services delivered in an efficient
and effective manner. To maintain provision of pharmaceutical services with high
standards, it must undergo periodic systematic evaluation. The aims of this study
were, therefore, to examine the quality of pharmaceutical services in MOI healthcare
sector, from the perspective of patients, pharmacists and assistant pharmacists, and
physicians and nurses in order to identify and develop an understanding of factors that
influence their satisfaction level. The study was conducted at the SFH and 16 GAMS
polyclinics distributed around the kingdom employing a questionnaire technique,
focus group discussions, and interviews. Twelve research questions were used to
explore relationships among the study parameters. Data on existing and future
situations of pharmaceutical services provision in the MOI healthcare sector were
Sixteen interviews were undertaken with pharmacy administrative officials in the SFH
and GAMS polyclinics for supplementary information to the topic under investigation.
Further, data collected from study participants helped to devise a model for
optimisation of pharmaceutical services in the MOI.
Results showed patients were partly satisfied with current pharmaceutical services
provided in the SFH and GAMS polyclinics, and SFH patients were slightly more
satisfied than GAMS polyclinics' patients (p 50.001). The healthcare professionals
who took part in this study were moderately satisfied with the pharmaceutical services
provided. Patients' long waiting time in the Pharmacy Department to obtain their
medication and inadequate patient counselling appeared to be important factorsinfluencing patients' satisfaction level in the SFH. Main factors affecting patients'
satisfaction level in GAMS polyclinics were poor patient counselling, shortage of
medicines, and inadequate facilities. The study results also revealed that elderly,
chronically ill patients experienced difficulty obtaining their medication in both
settings. However, healthcare professionals indicated the two weakest pharmacy
services in both locations were clinical activities and educational programmes. The
study also suggested that the absence of a formal drug information centre and
electronic database system in GAMS polyclinics affected the professional practice of
pharmacy staff. Indeed, findings pointed to advantages to be gained from
implementing pharmacy staff motivation policies and procedures.
The findings indicate that the MOI healthcare sector provides acceptable
pharmaceutical services based on patients' and healthcare professionals' perspectives.
In fact there is a need for implementing quality indicators, formal routine inspection
and re-organisation of all pharmacy services. Thus, this study has been valuable in
identifying the need for optimisation of practice in pharmaceutical services provided
by MOI healthcare sector