An examination of the causes, contributory factors and consequences of dispensing errors in community pharmacy
: and the experiences of community pharmacists in ensuring accuracy during the dispensing process

  • Sadia Kousar

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Purpose: Since 2005, community pharmacist workload has increased. This has been accompanied by an increase in stress and work pressures, and a decrease in job satisfaction. However, at present, it is unclear how these factors are impacting the ability of community pharmacists to ensure accuracy during the dispensing process. This research seeks to extend our understanding of the nature, outcome and predictors of dispensing errors, and explore community pharmacists’ experiences following the occurrence of a dispensing error.
Method: A mixed-methods approach was employed to conduct a series of three experiments: a quantitative and qualitative retrospective database analysis; a qualitative study of community pharmacists; and a cross-sectional survey of community pharmacists.

Results: Staff shortages, being busier than normal/high workload and fatigue/insufficient rest breaks were most frequently reported contributory factors of dispensing errors throughout this research. Type of pharmacy ownership was found to be associated with deteriorating working conditions in community pharmacy and a predictor of dispensing errors in community pharmacy.

Discussion: Increasing levels of workload, staff shortages, inadequately trained dispensary support staff, lack of rest breaks, the type of pharmacy setting and layout of the dispensary may be associated with the occurrence of dispensing errors. Increasing levels of corporatisation in community pharmacy may precipitate error-prone environments in which pharmacists perceive a high burden of responsibility towards their role. For some, this may have a considerable, and in some cases lasting impact on the pharmacist’s physical and mental health.
Date of Award7 Feb 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJoe Bush (Supervisor) & Chris Langley (Supervisor)


  • community pharmacy
  • contributory factors
  • dispensing errors
  • predictors
  • consequences

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