Is bush pharmacy better?

Taroom Pharmacy.

What are the differences between rural and urban pharmacy practice? Australian researchers have reviewed the evidence  

There is little evidence of real difference in pharmacy practice between rural and urban pharmacies, researchers have found.

Academics from the University of Tasmania have undertaken a systematic literature review, finding 17 papers from five countries, including Australia, that compare the city versus bush pharmacy paradigm. 

The concluded that, while there was some or limited evidence of differences, overall there was “little evidence of difference” from the studies they reviewed.

However, there was overall some evidence that rural pharmacists were “seemingly more willing to take on new roles, and deliver a higher level of professional services and public health or enhanced pharmacy services,” said the authors, who included PSA national president Dr Shane Jackson.

Among the possible differences noted were:

  • Rural patients were more willing to talk about general health matters, to ask advice and to talk longer to the pharmacist.
  • Rural pharmacists tended to initiate more conversations
  • There was limited evidence that rural pharmacists provided more professional services, public health or enhanced pharmacy services
  • Rural pharmacists also appeared to have better working relationships with providers  

However, many of the authors questioned the validity of their results and suggested possible confounding factors.

The findings were based on a small number of studies, said the authors, whose research was presented as a poster during the recent PSA18 Conference in Sydney.

“Further high-quality research is required to ascertain and characterise any real differences in practice….”, they concluded.


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1 Comment

  1. Michael Rumpff

    After decades spent as a rural professional, I think the researchers were looking at incorrect parameters. My experience was that rural pharmacists were far greater participants in the community, at all levels, and as a consequence drew far greater respect and recognition within that community. Communication within a country town was certainly enhanced as a result, both with customers, and fellow practitioners.

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