A qualitative study of stakeholder views and experiences of minor ailment services in the United Kingdom

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 2019, 15 (5), pp. 496 - 504
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Background: An international strategy designed to promote access to primary care is the utilisation of community pharmacy to deliver structured minor ailment services (MASs). An understanding of key implementation features of MASs will support effective service delivery and implementation, promote MAS viability, sustainability and overall improvement. Aim: The aim of this study is to explore the views and experiences of a range of stakeholders concerning the implementation of MASs in the United Kingdom. Methods: A qualitative approach was used to obtain data. Participants were recruited using purposeful and snowball sampling. Stakeholders from five different regions were included. Using the digital recordings of the interviews, thematic content analysis was undertaken. Results: Thirty-three participants agreed to be interviewed. Twenty-nine semi-structured interviews were conducted. Thematic content analysis yielded three major themes, including (1)benefits of MASs, (2)structural challenges associated with MAS design and (3)other implementation factors associated with MAS delivery. Stakeholders recognised the positive impact of the service to improve patient access and care, promote efficiencies, and promote the professional role of the pharmacist. Nevertheless barriers do exist to service delivery and implementation. Stakeholders identified the need to potentially increase the population groups served by MASs, increase the conditions treated and widen their formulary lists. Similarly, marketing strategies needed to be improved to enhance consumer awareness. Stakeholders presented mixed views about whether pharmacists needed to complete clinical training and the need to increase pharmacist's remuneration. In addition the level of healthcare collaboration needed to improve. Conclusion: Several concepts emerged from the investigation to facilitate service delivery. Barriers to service implementation had a variable impact on implementation. Service delivery should function to meet all stakeholder needs and can be achieved through stakeholder collaboration. However, improved marketing to promote consumer awareness together with better collaborative processes can potentially improve MAS implementation.
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