Provision of pharmaceutical care by community pharmacists: a comparison across Europe
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Objective To investigate the provision of pharmaceutical care by community pharmacists across Europe and to examine the various factors that could affect its implementation. Methods A questionnaire-based survey of community pharmacies was conducted within 13 European countries. The questionnaire consisted of two sections. The first section focussed on demographic data and services provided in the pharmacy. The second section was a slightly adapted version of the Behavioral Pharmaceutical Care Scale (BPCS) which consists of three main dimensions (direct patient care activities, referral and consultation activities and instrumental activities). Results Response rates ranged from 10–71% between countries. The mean total score achieved by community pharmacists, expressed as a percentage of the total score achievable, ranged from 31.6 (Denmark) to 52.2% (Ireland). Even though different aspects of pharmaceutical care were implemented to different extents across Europe, it was noted that the lowest scores were consistently achieved in the direct patient care dimension (particularly those related to documentation, patient assessment and implementation of therapeutic objectives and monitoring plans) followed by performance evaluation and evaluation of patient satisfaction. Pharmacists who dispensed higher daily numbers of prescriptions in Ireland, Germany and Switzerland had significantly higher total BPCS scores. In addition, pharmacists in England and Ireland who were supported in their place of work by other pharmacists scored significantly higher on referral and consultation and had a higher overall provision of pharmaceutical care. Conclusion The present findings suggest that the provision of pharmaceutical care in community pharmacy is still limited within Europe. Pharmacists were routinely engaged in general activities such as patient record screening but were infrequently involved in patient centred professional activities such as the implementation of therapeutic objectives and monitoring plans, or in self-evaluation of performance.