Researchers at Aston University will examine the part community pharmacy teams play during epidemics in an attempt to learn how their services can be developed to protect people more effectively during an outbreak.
The study will largely focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and will take in interviews with a variety of groups including pharmacy staff, patients and GPs.
The aim is to produce a guide that can be shared across the pharmacy sector and wider NHS, something the PSNC said will allow the health system “to better utilise pharmacy” during the coronavirus crisis.
“Community pharmacy teams have really gone the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is important that we recognise their achievements and also learn from their experiences,” said Alastair Buxton, the PSNC’s director of NHS services.
“This project will help the profession to do both. We look forward to the research helping the sector and PSNC consider how else community pharmacies can best play their part in supporting patients and the NHS, as the pandemic continues to take its course.”
The study is being funded by the Medical Research Council and will also involve researchers from the universities of Hull, Oxford and Sheffield and academics in Australia and Canada.
“Community pharmacy has a key role to play in the current Covid-19 pandemic. With over 11,700 high street locations, community pharmacies can ensure people from different socio-economic groups and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups have equal access to vaccination and advice,” said Dr Ian Maidment, reader in clinical pharmacy at Aston University.
“This project will enable us to understand how, why, for whom and when community pharmacy can effectively support the public health response to pandemics such as Covid-19 and other future health emergencies.”