A multi-method evaluation of the Pharmacy First Minor Ailments scheme
Objectives To evaluate whether the Pharmacy First Minor Ailments scheme achieved its objectives in terms of improving access to medicines and reducing doctor workload for minor ailments by enhancing the role of community pharmacists in the management of minor ailments. Setting Nottingham, the United Kingdom. Methods A mixed-methods study was conducted, including semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, a patient survey, and an analysis of the Nottingham City Primary Care Trust data. Main outcome measures Stakeholders’ acceptability of the scheme and scheme users’ satisfaction with the scheme. Results Most health care professionals were positive about the implementation of the scheme, although they reported some problems, such as the restricted formulary. The majority of stakeholders perceived benefits of the scheme for both patients and health care professionals. The level of patient satisfaction with the scheme was high, particularly in terms of ease of access and convenience. The current structure of the scheme appears to be an acceptable way to run the scheme. Since its commencement the scheme has enabled the transfer of a substantial number of minor ailments consultations from general practices to community pharmacies. Conclusion It appears that the Nottingham City Primary Care Trust is successful using community pharmacies to improve access to medicines and provide a greater choice in primary care for patients with minor ailments. Thus, the Primary Care Trust should continue the scheme, although there are some important issues (e.g. the restricted formulary, the lack of privacy in some pharmacies) that need to be addressed to improve and develop the service further. The Nottingham City Primary Care Trust should build on this success to further utilise the pharmacy in their primary care service development.
KeywordsAccess to medicine Community pharmacy Minor ailments
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