The survey conducted by Guidelines for Pharmacy also exposed changes in the interaction between community pharmacy and general practice

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A survey conducted by Guidelines for Pharmacy to explore the opinions of community pharmacy teams on their developing roles and requirements has indicated that nearly 90% of community pharmacists have reported an increase in patients visiting pharmacies for healthcare advice in the first instance, before visiting their GP practice.

The survey also revealed a period of significant change in the provision of primary healthcare advice, driven predominantly by the COVID-19 pandemic and the new NHS structure.

The 2021 Guidelines for Pharmacy UK community pharmacy survey exposed evolution in the way community pharmacies interact with local GP surgeries and the way they are perceived and utilised by patients and the public. Community pharmacists were optimistic about their ability to support patients in the pharmacy, with 69% reporting that they can help at least half of the patients that visit pharmacy for health advice.

Supporting best-practice patient care

Of the 108 respondents—which were primarily pharmacists and pharmacy team members—93% think that clinical guidelines will become increasingly important within the new NHS structure. Sophie Hatton, Editor of Guidelines for Pharmacy, said: ‘Guidelines for Pharmacy will be pivotal in providing up-to-date and relevant content for community pharmacy teams as we move into 2022. Developed with professional bodies, Guidelines for Pharmacy provides over 350 clinical guideline summaries online and in our quarterly handbook, supporting both learning and best-practice delivery of patient care at the point of consultation.’

The survey indicated that Guidelines for Pharmacy is the second most popular source of guidance after NICE guidelines, and is used by 91% of responders to keep up to date with best practice; by 88% to support continuing professional development; and by 71% to inform the treatment and/or management of patients.

About the survey

The Guidelines for Pharmacy 2021 community pharmacy survey was conducted between 17 July and 15 August 2021. Guidelines for Pharmacy users were asked to complete the survey via a link in the July issue of the print journal, a personalised email, and promotion of the survey online. A total of 108 healthcare professionals—primarily lead pharmacists, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy assistants/medicines counter assistants—responded to the survey, and the data was analysed in aggregate.

Guidelines for Pharmacy is a quarterly publication circulated for free to all UK community pharmacies, along with the Guidelines for Pharmacy website, providing up-to-date comprehensive guideline summaries from professional bodies to support best-practice delivery of patient care and learning. Access to guidelinesforpharmacy.co.uk is free of charge for UK pharmacists and their teams.