RPS survey sheds light on day-to-day role of pharmacists

RPS survey highlights the key services and interactions provided by pharmacists across the NHS each week.

Male pharmacist checking medicines in dispensary

Dispensing and checking patients’ medicines forms the bulk of pharmacists’ activities, according to a survey carried out by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in support of @WePharmacists #pharmacy24 initiative on 24 March 2016.

The survey, which asked pharmacists to log and share the number of services and interactions with patients they provided in a week, received responses from 454 pharmacists across all sectors as well as a small number of pharmacy technicians. Respondents said that dispensing and checking medicines was their main task. One in four respondents said that they carried out more than 500 clinical checks on prescriptions in a week and almost half said that they carried out an average of more than 500 accuracy checks, with 28 saying that they carried out more than 3,000 accuracy checks each week.

Another key activity was providing medicines advice and support. More than 80% of respondents said that they spent time with patients to ensure they understood how to take their medicines and provided training on how to use a medical device, such as an inhaler. Most respondents said that they helped patients in this way on a daily basis.

Two thirds of responding pharmacists told the RPS that they had helped someone with a common ailment, while eight said that they treated more than 500 common ailments each week. Other activities recorded included providing emergency contraception, helping with diabetes management, smoking cessation and substance abuse and undertaking home and care home visits.

Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society

“The shear number of patient care episodes captured in just one week pays testament to the value of the pharmacy profession to the NHS,” says Neal Patel, head of corporate communications at the RPS

“I was surprised and delighted by the response from pharmacists to this snapshot survey, at a particularly busy time of year,” says Neal Patel, head of corporate communications at the RPS. “The range and sheer number of patient care episodes captured in just one week pays testament to the value of the pharmacy profession to the NHS.”

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, April 2016;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200951