Little is known about the reason behind the underutilisation of community pharmacy (CP) for children. This study explored the experiences, barriers and recommendations of parents/carers and young people regarding their use of CP services for children. Two-stage facilitated, structured, audio-recorded interviews were conducted at each of four CPs in London, England, between May and November 2019 [1 month in each CP]. Parents/carers or young persons (aged 16–18 years) who visited CP for a child-related matter were invited to participate. Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively, using thematic analysis to identify themes. In total, 249 (58.2% of 428 eligible) customers agreed to participate and completed the two interviews. Out of these, 82.3% (205/249) reported positive experiences with the CP. The general practitioner (GP) was the preferred healthcare provider for minor ailments (44.6%,111/249), while 35.7% (89/249) would choose CP. Eighty-two participants (33%) visited an Emergency Department in the last 12 months, with 13.4% (11/82) of them visited for cold and cough reasons. Where a child was present with parents/carer (128/249), there was a low level of interaction between children and pharmacists (13.3%, 17/128). Lack of awareness about the CP services provided for children and privacy were among the barriers identified by participants. Advertising of CP services and creating a child-friendly environment were recommendations suggested by participants. The findings of this paper show that CP remains an underutilised health service for children by parents/carers and young persons. More work is needed to increase public awareness of the roles of CP in children's health and well-being.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was funded by the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG) charity.
- community pharmacist
- community pharmacy
- community pharmacy services
- medicine management
- young people