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Quality improvement in community pharmacy

In 2013, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) provided funding to explore the generalisability of the TRiaDS framework to community pharmacy in Scotland, to increase the scope of the community pharmacist role including consultation, advising and care planning.

The first stage of the TRiaDS Pharmacy process was to systematically identify and prioritise topics for community pharmacy practice improvement and guideline development in Scotland. A modified Delphi study was conducted for the purpose. This prioritisation process was successful in identifying areas of professional practice which would benefit from improvement [1] .

Based on these findings a qualitative Theoretical Domain Framework (TDF) interviews study was conducted. Interviews were conducted with community pharmacists and other pharmacy personnel (n=30) who are involved with the sale and supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in Scotland. The purpose of these interviews was to identify the key determinants to eliciting information during OTC medicine consultations. Full data analysis is now complete and the findings of this study will be published in 2019.

The findings of this qualitative study have contributed to the development of a theoretically informed questionnaire-based survey to all community pharmacies in Scotland. The aim of the survey is to:

  • explore current practice in a national sample of community pharmacists
  • explore specific beliefs towards the behaviour of interest (gathering information)

The questionnaire was piloted with pharmacists with community pharmacy experience to assess wording, acceptability and length and distributed to all community pharmacies across Scotland in January 2016. Full results are anticipated in early 2019.

Dissemination event 22 June 2016 – Responding to the Which? report

A dissemination event was held on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JQ. The purpose of the event was to:

  • disseminate the results of the TRiaDS Pharmacy research programme since the publication of the last Which? report; and
  • seek consensus amongst pharmacy organisations regarding the way forward to achieve effective and sustainable practice improvement.

Please see Responding to the Which? Report (PDF) for further information about this event.

Further activities

Following the dissemination event, Rose-Marie Parr, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland, approved funding for development of a workbook for Medicines Counter Assistants to help improve their OTC consultations with patients. Professor Mags Watson (Health Services Research, University of Bath, previously based at University of Edinburgh), promoted the workbook in Aberdeen, Inverness and Glasgow during 2018. Professor Watson also recorded a webinar version which is available on TURAS Learn [2].

A series of interviews and focus groups was conducted with stakeholders from the pharmacy profession in the UK as a first exploration of service providers’ attitudes and beliefs of quality and quality improvement in the community pharmacy setting in the UK [3]. In addition, the results of a simulated patient study demonstrated the importance of defining quality and the measures used [4].

Publications and presentations

  1. Newlands, R. S., Power, A., Young, L. and Watson, M. (2017), Quality improvement of community pharmacy services: a prioritisation exercise. Int J Pharm Pract. doi:10.1111/ijpp.12354
  2. Improving the quality of over-the-counter consultations: Phase II (video). Only available on NES TURAS Learn [login required].
  3. Watson MC, Skea ZC. Jugglers and tightrope walkers: The challenge of delivering quality community pharmacy services.
  4. Jackie Inch, Terry Porteous, Vivienne Maskrey, Annie Blyth, Jackie Burr, Jennifer Cleland, David J. Wright, Richard Holland, Christine M. Bond and Margaret C. Watson. (2016) It’s not what you do it’s the way that it’s measured: quality assessment of minor ailment management in community pharmacies. Int J Pharm Pract. doi:10.1111/ijpp.12305

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