A major consumer survey has found high levels of satisfaction and reliance on community pharmacies.
The survey of 3000 consumers was part of the Consumer Needs project which was funded by the Department of Health as part of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement Research and Development program. Key findings of the survey include:
- 49% of participants reported their last visit to a pharmacy had been in the past week. The proportion of participants who had visited a pharmacy in the past week increased steadily with age; and females (58%) were more likely to have visited a pharmacy in the past week compared to males (39%).
- 82% of participants reported going to the same pharmacy for most of their pharmacy needs (i.e. more than 75% of the time). The proportion of participants going to the same pharmacy increased with age.
- 90% of participants reported being satisfied with the interaction they had with their pharmacist (based on the last three visits to the pharmacy), with satisfaction shown to increase with age, and higher among females and those taking one or more medicines. The main reason for satisfaction was that the pharmacist is knowledgeable and provides good advice (51%).
- 35% of participants reported that they seek health advice on the treatment and management of health conditions at their community pharmacy. When participants were asked where they would go in the first instance for future advice or information on minor ailments or chronic conditions, 51% chose their pharmacist.
- The four leading factors influencing participants’ choice of pharmacy were: convenience (59%); knowing and trusting the pharmacist/staff (18%); cost (14%); and good service (6%). Convenience was the leading factor across all age groups.
In terms of expectations as they relate to community pharmacy, it was found that consumers expect:
- the pharmacist to provide advice on medicines;
- to be offered a generic version of a medicine if it is available;
- to be informed when updated information becomes available on medicines;
- for the pharmacist to provide health advice on minor conditions;
- for the pharmacist to collaborate with their GP if necessary;
- to be able to speak privately with the pharmacist; and
- to be treated with respect and consideration.
“The findings confirm the important role of community pharmacy in the Australian health system, and provide valuable feedback for the industry at a time when we are looking to expand our role,” Tambassis says.
The findings highlight the accessibility of pharmacy – in terms of location, opening hours, and appointment-free visits – making pharmacy the first point of contact for many consumers in the health system,” he said.
The full report of the Consumer Needs project can be found on the 5CPA website.