International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 504–515 | Cite as

An evaluation of the role of practice pharmacists in Australia: a mixed methods study

  • Shenade BakerEmail author
  • Ya Ping Lee
  • H. Laetitia Hattingh
Research Article


Background The need for greater collaboration between pharmacists and general practitioners in Australia facilitated the development of the practice pharmacist role. Practice pharmacists work from within general practices to provide services to patients and health professionals to improve the quality use of medications. Objective To explore the perceptions of Australian accredited pharmacists and pharmacists already working in general practices about current roles, facilitators and barriers, and remuneration expectations of practice pharmacists. Setting This study was conducted Australia wide. Method This was a two-stage study. The first stage involved a quantitative online questionnaire of accredited pharmacists whilst the second stage involved semistructured interviews with pharmacists working in general practice. Main outcome measure Pharmacists’ opinions on expected and current roles, barriers and facilitators, remuneration expectations and training requirements for practice pharmacist. Results A total of 65 accredited pharmacists completed the online survey and 20 practice pharmacists participated in interviews. The primary practice pharmacist roles identified included medication reviews, verifying the appropriateness of prescriptions, counselling and promoting adherence and providing education to other allied health professionals in the practice. The major facilitator identified was enhanced communication. Remuneration expectations and current working relationships were identified as main barriers. Conclusion The implementation of an appropriate funding model and a defined scope of role are critical to the successful implementation of the role of practice pharmacists.


Australia Collaborative care General practice Medication reviews Practice pharmacist 



The authors would like to thank the pharmacists who agreed to be interviewed.


This study was not funded.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest for this study.

Supplementary material

11096_2019_807_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


  1. 1.
    Tan E, Stewart K, Elliott R, George J. Pharmacist consultations in general practice clinics: the pharmacists in practice study (PIPS). Res Social Adm Pharm. 2014;10(4):623–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tan E, Stewart K, Elliott R, George J. Integration of pharmacists into general practice clinics in Australia: the views of general practitioners and pharmacists. Int J Pharm Pract. 2013;22(1):28–37.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Harris M, Chan B, Daniel C, Wan Q, Zwar N, Powell Davies G. Development and early experience from an intervention to facilitate teamwork between general practices and allied health providers: the team-link study. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010;10(1):104.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Avery A, Rodgers S, Cantrill J, Armstrong S, Cresswell K, Eden M, et al. A pharmacist-led information technology intervention for medication errors (PINCER): a multicentre, cluster randomised, controlled trial and cost-effectiveness analysis. Lancet. 2012;379(9823):1310–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    The Department of Health. About the GP Super Clinics Programme. [Online] 2013.
  6. 6.
    Freeman C, Cottrell W, Kyle G, Williams I, Nissen L. Integrating a pharmacist into the general practice environment: opinions of pharmacist’s, general practitioner’s, health care consumer’s, and practice manager’s. BMC Health Serv Res. 2012;12:229.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Freeman C, Cottrell N, Rigby D, Williams I, Nissen L. The Australian practice pharmacist. J Pharm Pract Res. 2014;44(4):240–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dolovich L, Pottie K, Kaczorowski J, Farrell B, Austin Z, Rodriguez C, et al. Integrating family medicine and pharmacy to advance primary care therapeutics. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008;83:913–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Von Muenster S, Carter B, Weber C, Ernst M, Milchak J, Steffensmeier J, et al. Description of pharmacist interventions during physician–pharmacist co-management of hypertension. Pharm World Sci. 2008;30:128–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Simpson S, Majumdar S, Tsuvuki R, Lewanczuk R, Spooner R, Johnson J. Effect of adding pharmacists to primary care teams on blood pressure control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2010;34(1):20–6.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hogg W, Lemelin J, Dahrouge S, Liddy C, Deri Armstrong C, Legault F, et al. Randomized controlled trial of anticipatory and preventative multidisciplinary team care. Can Fam Physic. 2009;55:76–85.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Benson H, Lucas C, Kmet W, Benrimoj S, Williams K. Pharmacsists in general practice: a focus on drug-related problems. Int J Clin Pharm. 2018;40(3):566–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Creswell J, Klassen A, Plano Clark V, Smith K C. Best practices for mixed methods research in the health sciences. 2011.
  14. 14.
    Thomas DR. A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. Am J Eval. 2006;27:237–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement. About 6CPA. [Online] 2015.
  16. 16.
    Australian Government, Department of Health. Primary Health Networks (PHNs). [Online] 23 Sep 2016.
  17. 17.
    Farrell B, Pottie K, Woodend K, Yao V, Dolovich L, Kennie N, et al. Shifts in expectations: evaluating physicians’ perceptions as pharmacists become integrated into family practice. J Interprof Care. 2010;24(1):80–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Carter B, Bergus G, Dawson J, Farris K, Doucette W, Chrichilles E, et al. A cluster randomized trial to evaluate physician/pharmacist collaboration to improve blood pressure control. J Clin Hypertens. 2008;10(4):260–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Altavela J, Jones M, Ritter M. A prospective trial of a clinical pharmacy intervention in a primary care practice in a capitated payment system. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2008;14(9):831–43.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zermansky A, Petty D, Raynor D, Freemantle N, Vail A, Lowe C. Randomised controlled trial of clinical medication review by a pharmacist of elderly patients receiving repeat prescriptions in general practice. BMJ. 2001;323:1340.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Desborough J, Twigg M. Pharmacist-led medication reviews in primary care. Rev Clin Gerontol. 2014;24(1):1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hatah E, Braund R, Duffull S, Tordoff J. General practitioners’ perceptions of pharamcists’ new service in New Zealand. Int J Clin Pharm. 2012;34(2):364–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Freeman C, Rigby D, Aloizos J, Williams I. The practice pharmacist: a natural fit in the general practice team. Aust Prescr. 2016;39(6):211–4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Stewart D, George J, Bond C, Diack H, McCaig D, Cunningham S. Views of pharmacist prescribers, doctors and patients on pharmacist prescribing implementation. Int J Pharm Pract. 2009;17(2):89–94.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tan E, Stewart K, Elliott R, George J. Stakeholder experiences with general practice pharmacist services: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2013;3(9):e003214.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Freeman C, Cottrell W, Kyle G, Williams I, Nissen L. Pharmacists’, general practitioners’ and consumers’ views on integrating pharmacists into general practice. J Pharm Pract Res. 2012;42(3):184–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bajorek B, LeMay K, Gunn K, Armour C. The potential role for a pharmacist in a multidisciplinary general practitioner super clinic. Australas Med J. 2015;8(2):52–63.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmacy and Biomedical SciencesCurtin UniversityBentleyAustralia
  2. 2.Gold Coast HealthQueensland HealthBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Pharmacy and PharmacologyGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations