Exploring the impact of evolving health policy on independent pharmacy ownership in England
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Objective To study the impact of policy and contractual changes on community pharmacy ownership in England. Setting North West of England. Method Twenty nine male pharmacists were interviewed between September 2007 and February. 2008. The study involved semi-structured face to face interviews with theoretically sampled respondents. Data were analysed using the constant comparative method. Main outcome measure English community pharmacists’ opinions and experiences. Results Practice ownership attracted some respondents to pharmacy as a career. Respondents considered that a combination of legislative and policy changes in combination with contractual alterations had decreased the profitability of independent pharmacy businesses. Additionally, it seemed that community pharmacy corporate groups were able to out bid individual pharmacists for community pharmacy businesses. A proportion of respondents had sold community pharmacy businesses recently, in some cases in response to contractual and policy changes. Some considered that the declining proportion of independent pharmacies was likely to limit patient choice as well as affecting the profession. Some felt this made pharmacy a less attractive career choice. Conclusion It seems that recent policy and contractual changes have favoured the multiple community pharmacy sector in England, resulting in a declining proportion of independent community pharmacies. Policy makers must consider the far reaching consequences of this for pharmacists, the profession and patient choice.
KeywordsCommunity pharmacy Deregulation Independent community pharmacist Pharmacy contract Pharmacy workforce Primary care United Kingdom
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