Community pharmacy teams' experiences of general practice-based pharmacists: an exploratory qualitative study
BMC Health Services Research
In England, since 2015, there has been a formal drive to integrate pharmacists into general practice as a new healthcare service. Research efforts have offered insights into how general practice-based professionals and patients view the service, however, they took no account of community pharmacy teams' opinions. There have been anecdotal statements about opposition from community pharmacies to the service, due to fears of losing business. The aim of the current study was to identify the
... identify the experiences and perceptions of community pharmacy teams regarding pharmacists' presence in general practice. The National Health Service Choices website was used to identify community pharmacies within a radius of two miles from eight West London general practices. The search resulted in 104 community pharmacies which were all contacted via telephone. Pharmacy staff who verbally expressed their interest to participate were then provided with the study's documents. Qualitative, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted inside the pharmacy from which each participant was recruited. Interviews lasted 30 to 45 min and were audio-recorded. Audio-recordings were transcribed verbatim and transcripts analysed thematically. Forty-eight community pharmacy staff participated. Four themes were discerned: awareness ("I knew that [pharmacists] have already been implemented [in general practice] but I haven't really followed it ... where does the pharmacist role come?"); interactions ("I'm just so pleased that there's a pharmacist professional in the general practice ... because we speak the same language!"); patient care ("if I was a patient knowing that there is a general practitioner and a pharmacist [in general practice], I would ... think 'nothing can go wrong at the moment'"); and funding challenges ("if general practices take on the extra responsibility of stop smoking or flu vaccination campaigns ... financially, this would affect this pharmacy"). The current study revealed the perceived impact of general practice-based pharmacists on community pharmacies would be improved communication between pharmacies and practices. Findings will inform policy so that any future framing of pharmacists' presence in general practice considers the needs of community pharmacies.