Abstract: Purpose: Poor health outcomes for patients living in rural and remote areas of Australia are often attributed to the lack of a range of accessible health professionals delivering health services. Community pharmacists are already an integral part of these communities and as such are often the most frequently consulted health professionals. The aim of this study was to explore rural pharmacist knowledge and experiences of expanded pharmacy and to identify the barriers and enablers to remote pharmacists providing expanded pharmacy services (EPS), which can be described as services outside of usual medication management tasks. Methods: Rural and remote pharmacists (Modified Monash Model (MMM) categories 2– 7) participated in an online survey. Descriptive statistics and chi-squared tests were performed and data from open-ended questions were analyzed, categorized into themes and quantitized. Results: Two-thirds (n=13, 68%) of rural pharmacists surveyed (n=19) had knowledge of EPS in rural pharmacies and the majority (n=17, 89%) agreed that these services would benefit rural communities. Mental health service referral was considered very/extremely important by the majority (n=16, 84%) of respondents; however, no pharmacists were currently providing mental health screening services while (n=15, 79%) were willing to provide these services. While staff shortages, costs, time and training were indicated to be the main barriers to the provision of EPS, enablers included accessibility of rural pharmacies and a perceived need. Conclusion: This study indicated that pharmacists are already providing some EPS and see value in their implementation; however, what constitutes an expanded service was unclear to some participants. Mental health services were highlighted as most important demonstrating a recognized burden of mental illness in rural and remote locations. Findings from this pilot study will provide further understanding for future development of the pharmacist’s scope of practice and implementation of EPS.
Hays, C, Sparrow, M, Taylor, S, Lindsay, D, Glass, B, 2020, Pharmacists’ “full scope of practice”: Knowledge, attitudes and practices of rural and remote Australian pharmacists, Volume:13, Journal Article, viewed 05 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=30593.