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Healthcare needs the human touch, says NPA report

The NPA has issued a report on the benefits of face-to-face care, as a new survey confirms that patients value the advice they get from local community pharmacies.

‘Face to face’ describes a range of scenarios in which face-to-face contact in local pharmacies brings significant clinical benefits and concludes that such interactions are key to the success of many healthcare interventions.

“There are clinical, social and systems benefits to face-to-face pharmaceutical care over models of remote medicines supply,” it says.

A survey of 1,002 consumers in June reveals that 69 per cent of people reject any shift away from local pharmacies supplying NHS medicines towards online retailers.

The figure rises to 93 per cent among older people (heavier users of pharmacy services), while 87 per cent of people (including a majority in younger age groups) believe local pharmacies are the better way to obtain healthcare advice. In the over 55s, that figure rose to 98 per cent. Ninety-one per cent believe that it is safer to get NHS medicines at a local pharmacy.

In 2016, a survey of 2,000 consumers showed that patients rate being able to speak to someone face-to-face when ordering or collecting a prescription as nearly five times more important than being able to order online (37 per cent v 8 per cent).

“There are probably more face-to-face interactions in community pharmacies than in any other part of the health and social system,” says NPA chairman Ian Strachan. “In an age when the online supply of medicines is becoming increasingly prominent, it is important to remember how fundamental the human touch is in healthcare.

There are profound clinical benefits to face-to-face interactions

 

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