International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 389–397 | Cite as

Views of the Scottish general public on community pharmacy weight management services: international implications

  • Anita Elaine WeidmannEmail author
  • Scott Cunningham
  • Gwen Gray
  • Denise Hansford
  • Giovanna Bermano
  • Derek Stewart
Research Article


Background Obesity has reached pandemic levels, with more than 1.5 billion adults being affected worldwide. In Scotland two-thirds of men and more than half of women are either overweight or obese, placing Scotland overall third behind the United States of America and Mexico. All community pharmacies in Scotland are contracted to provide public health services such as smoking cessation and there is increasing interest in their contribution to weight management. Researching this area in Scotland may provide valuable information to facilitate the development of community pharmacy services in other parts of the UK and internationally. Objectives To describe the views of the Scottish general public on the provision of weight management services via community pharmacies. Setting General public in Scotland. Methods A cross-sectional postal questionnaire survey of 6,000 randomly selected members of the Scottish general public aged 18 years and over. Main outcome measures Views on community pharmacy led weight management services. Results Questionnaires were returned by 20.6% (n = 1,236). Over half 60.1% (n = 751) agreed or strongly agreed that they had easy access to pharmacy services in general and around one-third agreed (35%; n = 438) that it was more convenient to obtain weight management advice from a pharmacist than it is to make an appointment with a GP. Most respondents however lacked awareness of the types of health services available through community pharmacy (13.2%; n = 162) and would not feel comfortable speaking to a pharmacist or medicines counter assistant about weight related issues (25%; n = 320). Concerns over privacy (47.3%; n = 592) and perceived lack of pharmacists’ specialist knowledge (open comments) were identified as potential barriers to service uptake by the general public. Conclusion Overall, respondents appear to be receptive to the idea of accessing weight management services through community pharmacy but a perceived lack of privacy, poor knowledge of pharmacists’ skill level and of public health services available to them may explain the reluctance in the uptake of such services to date. The general public’s views expressed in this study may help to shape future community pharmacy led weight management service provision.


Community pharmacy Experience Public’s opinion Questionnaire Scotland United Kingdom Weight-management services 



We would like to acknowledge Y. Al-Obaidi, M. Bisset, P. Cleary, S. Crichton, J. Crosbie, S. Cunningham, L. Doherty, M. Munro, A. Smith, L. Smith, L. Stevenson and L. Adams for assistance with data collection, J Lowe for data input and all the members of the general public for completing questionnaires.


This study was funded by Robert Gordon University, School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Aberdeen.

Conflicts of interest

There was no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita Elaine Weidmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Scott Cunningham
    • 1
  • Gwen Gray
    • 1
  • Denise Hansford
    • 1
  • Giovanna Bermano
    • 2
  • Derek Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Pharmacy and Life SciencesRobert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Centre for Obesity Research and EducationRobert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK

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