Medicines optimisation for young people with juvenile arthritis and other long-term conditions: system-level barriers to engagement

N.J. Gray, J.E. McDonagh, C. Barker, J. Burton, R. Campbell, J. Prescott, K.L. Shaw, F.J. Smith, D. Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


To explore the views of pharmacy and rheumatology stakeholders about system-related barriers to medicines optimisation activities with young people with long-term conditions.
A three-phase consensus-building study comprising (1) focus groups with community and hospital pharmacists; (2) semi-structured telephone interviews with lay and professional adolescent rheumatology stakeholders and pharmacy policymakers, and (3) multidisciplinary discussion groups with community and hospital pharmacists and rheumatology staff. Qualitative verbatim transcripts from phases 1 and 2 were subjected to framework analysis. Themes from phase 1 underpinned a briefing for phase 2 interviewees. Themes from phases 1 and 2 generated elements of good pharmacy practice and current/future pharmacy roles for ranking in phase 3. Results from phase 3 prioritisation and ranking exercises were captured on self-completion data collection forms, entered into an Excel spreadsheet and subjected to descriptive statistical analysis. Institutional ethical approval was given by Aston University Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
Four focus groups were conducted with 18 pharmacists across England, Scotland and Wales (7 hospital, 10 community and 1 community/public health). Fifteen stakeholders took part in telephone interviews (3 pharmacist commissioners; 2 pharmacist policymakers; 2 pharmacy staff members (1 community and 1 hospital); 4 rheumatologists; 1 specialist nurse, and 3 lay juvenile arthritis advocates). Twenty-five participants took part in three discussion groups in adolescent rheumatology centres across England and Scotland (9 community pharmacists; 4 hospital pharmacists; 6 rheumatologists; 5 specialist nurses, and 1 physiotherapist).
In all phases of the study, system-level issues were acknowledged as barriers to more engagement with young people and families. Community pharmacists in the focus groups reported that opportunities for engaging with young people were low if parents collected prescriptions alone, which was agreed by other stakeholders. Moreover, institutional/company prescription collection policies – an activity largely disallowed for a young person under 16 without an accompanying parent - were identified by hospital and community pharmacists as barriers to open discussion and engagement. Few community pharmacists reported using Medicines Use Review (England/Wales) or Chronic Medication Service (Scotland) as a medicines optimisation activity with young people; many were unsure about consent procedures. Despite these limitations, rheumatology stakeholders ranked highly the potential of pharmacists empowering young people with general health care skills, such as repeat prescription ordering.
The pharmacy profession lacks vision for its role in the care of young people with long-term conditions. Pharmacists and rheumatology stakeholders identified system-level barriers to more engagement with young people who take medicines regularly. We acknowledge that the modest number of participants may have had a specific interest and thus bias for the topic, but this underscores their frank admission of the challenges. Professional guidance and policy, practice frameworks and institutional/company policies must promote flexibility for pharmacy staff to recognise and empower young people who are able to give consent and take responsibility for medicines activities. This will increase mutual confidence and trust, and foster pharmacy’s role in teaching general health care skills. In this way, pharmacists will be able to build long-term relationships with young people and families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue numberS1
Early online date21 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
EventHealth Service Research and Pharmacy Practice - Reading, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Apr 20168 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Abstracts of Papers Presented at the Health Services Research & Pharmacy Practice Conference, 7–8 April 2016, University of Reading, UK.


  • adolescents
  • pharmacy practice
  • arthritis


Dive into the research topics of 'Medicines optimisation for young people with juvenile arthritis and other long-term conditions: system-level barriers to engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this