Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Beyond the four walls: an exploratory survey of location, employment and roles of pharmacists in primary health care

Chloë Campbell 1 2 , Rhiannon Braund 1 , Caroline Morris 2
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

2 Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Chloë Campbell, School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Email: chloe.campbell@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care - https://doi.org/10.1071/HC17022
Published online: 28 August 2017

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2017.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Recognition of the need to reduce harm and optimise patient outcomes from the use of medicines is contributing to an evolution of pharmacy practice in primary health care internationally. This evolution is changing community pharmacy and leading to new models of care that enable pharmacist contribution beyond traditional realms. There is little information about the extent of these changes in New Zealand.

AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate emerging roles of pharmacists in primary health care.

METHODS: A 10-question electronic survey was used to collect quantitative data about location, employment and roles of pharmacists practising in primary health care.

RESULTS: There were 467 survey responses. Although most pharmacists are employed by (78%, n = 357/458) and located in (84%, n = 393/467) community pharmacies, small numbers are dispersed widely across the primary health care sector. Of the 7% (n = 31/467) working in general practices, most are employed by Primary Health Organisations or District Health Boards. Limited cognitive pharmacy service provision is evident in the sector overall, but is much greater for pharmacists spending time located within general practices.

DISCUSSION: The large proportion of pharmacists practising in community pharmacies emphasises the importance of the Community Pharmacy Services Agreement in facilitating increased cognitive pharmacy service provision to optimise patient outcomes. The small numbers of pharmacists located elsewhere in the primary health care sector suggest there is scope to improve collaboration and integration in these areas. Flexible funding models that promote innovation and support sustainable practice change are key.

KEYWORDS: Primary health care; pharmacy services; integration; general practice; clinical services


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