Introduction: The focus of the community pharmacist’s (CP’s) activities continues to move away from traditional dispensing activities towards the provision of health services. Current functions of CPs cover a combination of roles including prescription matters, counselling and service provision. These expanding roles, along with raised prescription volume, have increased CP workload. Therefore, it has become commonplace to delegate certain activities to other pharmacy staff (PS). This research aimed to examine public perceptions of CPs and other PS functions.
Methodology: A self-completion postal questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 9769 members of the general public in England. Participants were asked to indicate which functions they believed CPs and other PS perform. Data were imported into SPSS 22 for analysis.
Results: A response rate of 15.7% (n = 1537) was achieved. The roles most commonly attributed to CPs were monitoring prescription appropriateness (90.4%, n = 1390) and counselling patients on prescribed medicines (90.4%, n = 1389). The role most commonly attributed to other PS was sales transactions (92.4%, n = 1420). Similar numbers of responders agreed that the delivery of health services was the role of both CPs and other PS (58.9%, n = 906; 57.0%, n = 876).
Conclusion: Despite a move towards more service based practice, the public still primarily associate the CP’s role with activities centred on dispensing. The provision of health services was seen to be equally carried out by CPs and other PS. As the CP’s service-based activities continue to develop, promotional activities may be required to ensure developments in CP functions are recognised by the public