The future of community pharmacy in England: policy, stakeholder and public perspectives

  • Evgenia Paloumpi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


In England, community pharmacies serve the public, by dispensing medications and providing pharmaceutical care services. Whilst the provision of community pharmacy services has developed and extended rapidly over past decades, the future of this sector is uncertain. The purpose of the research presented in this thesis was to explore perspectives of the future of community pharmacy in England, providing evidence to support the creation of a strategy for
the future development of the community pharmacy sector.

Three interrelated studies were conducted. Firstly, a review was conducted to explore the representation of community pharmacy in policies. In total, 25 policies were included, 18 state and seven professional policies. The Walt and Gilson policy framework underpinned the analysis, which was conducted using a combination of reflexive thematic analysis and qualitative content analysis. Areas of convergence (e.g. the need for wider use of technology and community
pharmacists’ integration in primary care, their role in long-term conditions management, urgent care and prevention), and divergence (e.g. community pharmacists’ role in tackling health inequalities and mental health) were identified. Areas where improvement is needed with future professional policymaking (e.g. policy evaluation) were also identified.

An interview study was conducted to explore stakeholders’ perspectives regarding the future of pharmaceutical care in the community. In total, 25 interviews were completed with 15 ‘key informants’ (e.g. pharmacy organisation representatives and service commissioners) and 10 community pharmacists. Reflexive thematic analysis was applied. Interviewees’ perspectives were aligned with policy areas of convergence but also included additional opportunities (e.g.
pharmacogenomics). Community pharmacy was ideally described as a healthcare hub for patients, but multiple factors are required to achieve this (e.g. access to medical records).

The final empirical component was a reconvened focus group study to explore the public’s perspectives of the future of pharmaceutical care in the community. Eleven community pharmacy users described their views on their current and anticipated future use of community pharmacy services. Reflexive thematic analysis was undertaken. The participants tended to have positive perceptions about existing community pharmacy services but had limited awareness
about the range of services provided. They were also receptive towards expanding community pharmacists’ future role if barriers are overcome (e.g. pharmacy workforce training).

These studies indicate that the future of community pharmacy services in England consists of different services (e.g. clinical, social and digital) and depends on multiple processes (e.g. financial reform and improved representation). Technology and community pharmacists’ integration into primary care are fundamental for sustainability. Unity, engagement and coordinated efforts from a wide range of stakeholders are required.
Date of Award27 Apr 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMatthew Jones (Supervisor), Piotr Ozieranski (Supervisor) & Margaret Watson (Supervisor)

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