Pharmacist-only trimethoprim: pharmacist satisfaction on their training and the impact on their practice
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Background In 2012, in a first for the developed world, New Zealand reclassified trimethoprim to allow specially trained pharmacists to supply the medicine without a prescription to women with cystitis fitting specific criteria. Objective This study explored pharmacists’ views of the training and screening tool, impact on practice, and the pharmacists’ perceptions of views of patients and doctors. Methods Structured interviews were conducted with 28 New Zealand pharmacists trained to supply trimethoprim. These pharmacists were selected to represent geographical spread as well as urban, suburban and rural. The key areas for investigation were: satisfaction about training, appropriateness of training, opinions on the screening tool, impact on clinical practice and perception of others. Audio recorded interviews were thematically analyzed. Results Of 40 pharmacies invited, 28 pharmacists agreed to participate. Most pharmacists were positive about being able to supply trimethoprim, the training and increased clinical focus of their practice. The content of the training was considered appropriate, as was the screening tool, which was well utilised during consultations. Minor suggestions on the training and consultation materials were provided. Some pharmacists reported that referral to the doctor without supply in a minority of trimethoprim consultations, frustrated some women. Frequency of supplies varied considerably by pharmacists from none supplied to weekly supplies. Some pharmacists questioned the exclusion to supply for women who had taken antibiotics in the last six months. Many women had reportedly appreciated the easier access in the pharmacy compared with doctor access, especially at weekends, but sometimes misunderstood the role of the pharmacist in the supply. While pharmacists reported that some doctors had been negative about pharmacist-supply, others were informing women about the service from the pharmacist. Conclusion Pharmacist supply of trimethoprim using mandated training and a screening tool or algorithm for supply is workable and well-accepted by pharmacists. Minor changes have been recommended. Further research is needed to understand perspectives of other stakeholders (women, doctors and practice nurses) and outcomes for patients.
KeywordsAnti-bacterial agents Community pharmacy services Cystitis New Zealand Nonprescription drugs Pharmacist opinion Reclassification
We are grateful for the participation of pharmacists in the interviews.
Conflicts of interest
NG prepared the application for reclassification of trimethoprim in NZ, worked on the screening tool, and contributed to the trimethoprim training. NG consults in reclassification of medicines, and is a member of the Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.
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