Following a work plan request by the County Durham’s Public Health Team it was agreed that Healthwatch County Durham would carry out a consultation exercise from January to March 2020 to capture the views and experiences of individuals accessing pharmacy and dispensing doctor services across the county. We wanted to collect views about the following:
- The public’s knowledge of services that pharmacies can offer
- The effects of the local publicity campaign for pharmacy
- The public’s view of access to medicines, particularly delivery of medicines in the Dales
Our programme was halted by COVID-19 and as a result we were not able to carry out face to face engagement in the Dales as originally planned. However, overall we collected the views and experiences of 260 individuals.
- Respondents asked if pharmacies could dispense medications more quickly. In addition almost 100 respondents had problems obtaining their medication from their pharmacy. We would suggest that this is looked into further to identify where improvements could be made.
- Consideration should be given to offer additional health checks within pharmacies and to be able to prescribe certain medications, to reduce the need to visit the GP.
- The main reason cited for not accessing pharmacies for advice was the lack of privacy, with only 58.69% of respondents saying they could talk in the pharmacy without being overheard. Facilities to enable customers to talk to the pharmacist without being overheard should be made available and clearly advertised.
- When explaining new medication to customers, pharmacists should make it clear that this is what they are doing as currently only 74.23% of respondents were aware of this happening.
(Please note only some of our recommendations are noted here, please download the full report to see them all)