RPS survey illustrates value of pharmacists

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RPS survey illustrates value of pharmacists

A survey by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has attempted to quantify the contribution of pharmacists to providing patients with medicines care.

Unsurprisingly, the top task reported by pharmacists was dispensing and checking medicines. More than one in four respondents said they carried out an average of more than 500 clinical checks on prescriptions in a week and nearly half carried out an average of more than 500 accuracy checks (28 said they did this more than 3,000 times).

Medicines advice and support was also high on the list of activities. More than two-thirds of pharmacists said they dealt with at least one urgent medicine request every week, more than half of this number reporting they did this at least once a day. Sixty per cent said they helped improved quality of care by carrying out medicines use reviews with patients every week – 75 per cent of this group did this on average at least once a day.

A large number of respondents (more than 80 per cent) said they spent time with patients to ensure they understood how to take their medicines and provide training on how to use medical devices such as inhalers. Most of this group said they did this on average at least once a day.

The survey also revealed the amount of help pharmacists provide to the wider NHS. Two-thirds of pharmacists said they helped someone with a common ailment, with nearly 90 per cent of this group reporting treating a common ailment on average at least once a day.

More than 40 per cent of pharmacists provided emergency contraception at least once a week. A similar number provided diabetes management, with more than a third of this group reporting doing this on average once a day. More than a third said they helped people with substance misuse at least once a day.

Half of those questioned said they regularly helped people stop smoking – 40 per cent of this group saying they did this at least once a day.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they provided advice to other health professionals. More than two- thirds of this group said they did this every day.

Patient home visits were undertaken by 15 per cent of pharmacists at least once a week. For care home visits this was 4 per cent.

More than 450 pharmacists and a small number of pharmacy technicians responded to the survey.

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