Aim Community pharmacy (CP) has a vital place within a network of health service providers in the local community. Several government-led initiatives have been introduced in England to further strengthen their role in public health; including children and young people.1–2 Few studies have explored parents/carers’ and young people’s experiences in using CP services and little is known about the utilisation of CP services for children and young people.3 This study aimed to identify the experiences, opinions, and recommendations of parents/carers and young people (16-18 years) about their use of CP services for a child-related matter.
Method One-to-one interviewer-administered questionnaires (IAQs) were conducted at four community pharmacies in London, England, over a one-month period. Clients [parents/carers or young persons (aged 16-18 years)] who visited the CP for a child-related matter were invited to participate in the study. Two IAQs were conducted with each participant; pre-consultation; before being served by CP staff (Pharmacists and support staff); 2) post-consultation: immediately after being served. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed both quantitatively using SPSS Statistics software (version 25) and qualitatively using NVivo software (version 12). Thematic analysis was used to identify themes.4
Results 428 eligible clients were invited to take part in the study, of these, 249 agreed to participate and completed the two interviews; response rate 58.2% (249/428). Out of the 249, 8.0% (n=20) of them were young people aged 16-18 years.
The majority of participants (82.3%, 205/249) reported positive experiences with using the CP. Many of the participants (44.6%, 111/249) preferred the general practitioner (GP) as a health provider for minor illnesses, while 35.7% (89/249) would choose CP. A third of participants (33%, 82/249) had visited an emergency department in the last 12-months, of these 13.4% (11/82) were for cold-and-cough reasons. Where a child was present with parents/carer (51.4%, 128/249), there was a low level of interaction between children and pharmacy staff (13.3%, 17/128).
Participants identified the lack of awareness about the services that CP provides for children and the privacy as barriers preventing them from using CP services for child-related matters. Advertising of CP services and creating a child-friendly environment were participants’ recommendations to increase their use of CP services for child-related issues.
Conclusion This study showed that parents/carers and young people are not using the CP services to their full potential for children’s health issues despite the various initiatives attempting to raise awareness of CP services. There is a need for more efforts to raise the awareness of the public about the CP services provided for children.
Acknowledgement This work is part of a project funded by the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group.
National Pharmacy Association. Ask Your Pharmacist Campaign 2019. Available at: https://www.npa.co.uk/ayp2019 [accessed 12th Jul 2021].
NHS England. Stay Well Pharmacy campaign. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/primary-care/pharmacy/stay-well-pharmacy-campaign [accessed 12th Jul 2021].
Gray N, Shaw KL, Smith FJ, et al. The role of pharmacists in caring for young people with chronic illness. Journal of Adolescent Health 2017;60:219-225.
Braun V, Clarke V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 2006;3:77-101.
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