Cross-sectional questionnaire study of the experiences of community pharmacists in Northern Ireland during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic: preparation, experience and response
Objectives: To examine the views and experiences of community pharmacists in Northern Ireland (NI) regarding changes in community pharmacy practice/processes in preparation for, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Design: Cross-sectional telephone-administered questionnaire.
Setting and participants: Geographically stratified representative sample of 130 community pharmacists in NI between March and May 2021.
Outcome measures: Community pharmacists' responses to questions focusing on their preparation, experience and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive analysis was conducted including frequencies and percentages. Free-text comments were summarised using thematic analysis.
Results: One hundred and thirty pharmacists completed the questionnaire. Pharmacists responded comprehensively to implementing infection control measures, for example, management of social distancing in the shop (96.2%), making adjustments to premises, for example, barriers/screens (95.4%), while maintaining medicines supply (100.0%) and advice to patients (93.1%). Newly commissioned services were provided, for example, emergency supply service (93.1%), influenza vaccination for healthcare workers (77.7%) and volunteer deliveries to vulnerable people (54.6%). Pharmacists were least prepared for the increased workload and patients' challenging behaviour, but the majority (96.9%) reported that they felt better prepared during the second wave. Pharmacists agreed/strongly agreed that they would be able to re-establish normal services (87.7%), were willing to administer COVID-19 vaccines (80.7%) and provide COVID-19 testing (60.8%) in the future.
Conclusions: Community pharmacists remained accessible and maintained supply of essential medicines and advice to patients throughout the pandemic. Provision of modified and additional services such as vaccination reinforced the clinical and public health role of pharmacy.
Health and Social Care Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency, NI, under its COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Call (Ref. No. COM/5601/20)
CommentsThe original article is available at https://bmjopen.bmj.com/
Published CitationPatterson SM, Cadogan C, Barry HE, Bennett KE, Hughes C. Cross-sectional questionnaire study of the experiences of community pharmacists in Northern Ireland during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic: preparation, experience and response. BMJ Open. 2022 Sep 22;12(9):e064545.
Publication Date22 September 2022
- Data Science Centre
PublisherBMJ Publishing Group Ltd
- Published Version (Version of Record)