A study of the role of the community pharmacist in responding to symptons

  • Alison Morley

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Factors affecting the current role of the community pharmacist in responding to symptoms are investigated. Communication and collaboration with general medical practitioners (GPs), and the competency of pharmacists and counter assistants to perform the role of responding to symptoms, are examined.
A national survey of GPs, conducted by postal questionnaire, explores attitudes towards the role of the community pharmacist in the treatment of patients'
symptoms, and towards future extension of such a role. A majority (over 90%) of respondents thought that the counter prescribing activities of the pharmacist should be maintained or increased. Doctors supported treatment of most minor illnesses by pharmacists, but there was relatively little support for the deregulation of selected Prescription Only Medicines. Three quarters of respondents were in favour of joint educational meetings for pharmacists and doctors. Most GPs (85%) expressed support for a formal referral route from pharmacists to doctors, using a "notification card".
A pilot study of the use of a notification card was conducted . Two thirds of the patients who were advised to see their doctor by the pharmacist subsequently did so. In most cases , the GP rated the patients' symptoms " significant" and the card "helpful".
Pharmacists' and counter assistants' competency in responding to symptoms was assessed by a programme of pharmacy visits, where previously-defined symptoms were presented. Some pharmacists' questioning skills were found to be inadequate, and their knowledge not sufficiently current. Counter assistants asked fewer and less appropriate questions than did pharmacists, and assistants ' knowledge base was shown to be inadequate.
Recommendations are made in relation to the education and training of pharmacists and counter assistants in responding to symptoms .
Date of AwardNov 1987
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael H. Jepson (Supervisor)


  • community pharmacists
  • self-medication
  • self-care
  • pharmacy assistants
  • response to symptoms

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