A mixed-methods evaluation of a community pharmacy signposting service to a commercial weight-loss provider

Jackie Inch, A. Avenell, Lorna Aucott, Mags Watson

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Community pharmacies could provide access for clients to commercial weight management organizations. We evaluated recruitment, referral and outcomes of adults provided with free vouchers by community pharmacies to attend Scottish Slimmers classes.
Prospective cohort design with qualitative interviews with clients and pharmacy personnel. Scottish Slimmers collected weight and attendance data.
Pharmacies in Aberdeen City, Scotland.
Clients aged ≥18 years with BMI≥30 kg/m2.
Ten of twenty-three pharmacies were recruited; eight successfully recruited clients. Of 129 clients recruited, ninety-seven (75 %) attended at least one class and fifty-one (40 %) attended all twelve classes. At baseline, clients’ mean weight was 99·4 (sd 17·5) kg, mean BMI was 37·8 (sd 6·0) kg/m2. After 12 weeks, mean weight change was −3·7 % (last observation carried forward) or −2·8 % (baseline observation carried forward) for all ninety-seven clients. Client interviews indicated that many individuals would have not addressed their weight problems if this referral service had not been available. They had positive attitudes towards the pharmacy signposting service, attributed to the use of consultation rooms for privacy, receiving professional service from personnel and ongoing support and encouragement. The free provision of 12-week access facilitated participation. Service providers had positive attitudes and indicated their willingness to provide this service in future.
Community pharmacies could be used to increase access to weight management services, with pharmacy personnel providing additional support to clients. Future provision of pharmacy referral schemes should be evaluated on a larger scale with an economic evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2311-2319
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number12
Early online date23 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Obesity
  • Pharmacies
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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