Pharmacy Technology to Better Public Health: An Exploration of New Models of Supply and Use of Technology – A Regional United Kingdom Quantitative Study

Pharmacy Technology to Better Public Health: An Exploration of New Models of Supply and Use of Technology – A Regional United Kingdom Quantitative Study

Shahid Muhammad (Invatech Health Ltd, Bristol, UK), Hooman Safaei (Invatech Health Ltd, Bristol, UK) and Tariq Muhammad (Invatech Health Ltd, Bristol, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/IJARPHM.2019010101

Abstract

Healthcare access and delivery faces significant global and local challenges. This article aimed to explore the public's use of pharmacy services and aimed to obtain 200 completed surveys across eight districts of Bristol, UK, from non-registered pharmacy premises. Respondents reported as follows: 1) ability to order a repeat prescription (79.47%), 2) ability to collect a repeat prescription (72.63%), 3) ability to collect an acute prescription (66.84%), ability to purchase over the counter (OTC) medicines (59.79%), 4) followed by asking for specific advice on prescription medicines (48.42%), and 5) minor ailments (44.15%). Respondents had used the pharmacy at least once for collecting a repeat prescription for a routine medication (59.47%) or acute prescription (55.79%) and for buying OTC medicines (47.89%). Majority of respondents never approached a community pharmacist to specifically ask advice on medicines (51.32%). Participants had not ever approached a community pharmacist for minor ailment/health advice (71.58%).
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Community Pharmacy In The Uk

In the UK, National Health Service (NHS)1 patients initially consult a practitioner with independent prescribing rights2. The practitioner invariably issues a prescription for medicines. These prescriptions could be for an acute condition, “acute prescription”, or a long term condition, ”repeat prescription”. The repeat prescriptions relate to a number of days supply after which the patient can request further prescriptions from the surgery, this is known as “ordering repeat prescriptions”. All prescriptions are presented to a pharmacist in a registered pharmacy premises which has a contract with the NHS for the supply of medicines against a prescription written by a medical practitioner. The act of the supply of medicines by the pharmacist is known as dispensing. The pharmacy gets reimbursed for the cost of the medicines and the service of supply. Legally a pharmacist must supervise and ensure a safe and accurate dispensing process from a registered pharmacy premises.

The increase in demand for health care has led to year on year increases in numbers of prescriptions issued which must be dispensed by pharmacists. In addition to the dispensing of NHS prescriptions, pharmacies are also used by the general public to purchase medicines where a prescription is not needed. These are known as over-the-counter medicines (OTC). Within the OTC category, there is a legal class of medicines which can only be sold in pharmacies under the supervision of a pharmacist. In the UK there has been a trend to reclassify medicines from prescription only to pharmacy only in an effort to make the public less dependent on prescription medicines and thus shift the cost of healthcare from the NHS. Members of public often seek the advice of a pharmacist for a recommendation of a OTC medicine to treat their minor ailments and the pharmacist has the opportunity to extend this advice giving role to general health matters and health promotion.

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