Pharmacists, along with ambulance A&E crews, were rated highest for care, with 89% of patients describing their experience of pharmacy service as positive, according to the results of the Scottish government’s national health and care experience survey 2017/2018.
The survey received responses from over 130,000 individuals registered with a GP surgery in Scotland. It asked respondents about their experience of accessing and using their GP surgery and other local healthcare services.
The results showed that 45% of people had tried to get treatment or advice from a pharmacy, NHS24, or an emergency service in the past 12 months, which according to the report, was a much higher proportion than had been reported in previous surveys (27% in both 2015/2016 and 2013/2014); however, revisions to the question meant that the results could not be directly compared.
When asked to specify which service they had been treated or advised by the last time they used an out-of-hours service, 28% of respondents said that they used their local pharmacy, compared to 20% who said they used their own GP surgery when it was open, and 19% who said they used phone advice from NHS24.
According to the report, the proportion of people ending up receiving treatment or advice from a pharmacist or their own GP surgery was just 3% and 5%, respectively, in 2015/2016.
Furthermore, the proportion of people who did not try to contact their GP surgery first was highest among those who had ended up being treated or advised by a pharmacist (74%) or an ambulance A&E crew (66%).