NPA research shows the public recognising pharmacy healthcare role
To mark the beginning of ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ Week, the National Pharmacy Association has released new survey data that shows many more people regard community pharmacies as healthcare settings than retail settings.
There is also a growing level of awareness that pharmacies offer flu vaccinations, NHS medicines consultations and blood pressure monitoring. Over 90 per cent of adults in England are aware that at least some pharmacies offer each of these services.
Meanwhile, 56 per cent of respondents said it would be appropriate to ask at their local pharmacy for help to quit smoking, and 63 per cent would ask for a blood pressure check.
Asked to choose from a list of words they might associate with their local community pharmacist, a majority selected the word ‘medicines’, followed by ‘convenient’ and ‘healthcare’. After that ranked ‘minor illnesses’, ‘caring’, ‘consultations’, ‘expert’ and - with less than a third of respondents - ‘retail’.
Perhaps surprisingly, 68 per cent of respondents knew that it took at least five years to qualify as a pharmacist, while 67 per cent rightly believed that all pharmacy staff have to undertake some level of regulated training in the use of medicines.
“This new data shows an encouraging level of public awareness and acceptance of community pharmacy-based clinical services, and a recognition that community pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals,” said NPA head of communications, Stephen Fishwick.
“However, there is still a long way to go until there is universal understanding of the skills and services available in pharmacies. That’s why we encourage our members and pharmacy stakeholders to get involved with initiatives like 'Ask Your Pharmacist' Week, which promote the convenient clinical care on offer in community pharmacies across the UK”.
The survey of 1,680 adults in England was carried out by Research Without Barriers, from 20-23 October 2023. ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ Week runs from 30 October to 6 November.