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Internet-based pharmacy and centralised dispensing: an exploratory mixed-methods study of the views of family practice staff

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola HallORCiD, Dr Scott Wilkes



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2019 Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Objectives: Over the last decade, technological advances, market competition and increasing pressures for efficiencies across healthcare systems have resulted in changes to the processes and policies involved in medicines prescribing and dispensing. The aim of this study was to explore the views of family practice staff, including GPs, on the perceived impact of changes associated with remote dispensing and the increasing availability of distance-selling pharmacies. Methods: Exploratory mixed-methods study using qualitative focus groups and an online cross-sectional survey distributed to a non-probability sample of staff from family practices across England. Survey items were developed based on existing literature and initial thematic analysis from the focus groups and adapted using cognitive interviewing techniques. Key findings: Findings suggest that family practice staff believe that where and how prescriptions are dispensed impacts on their practice and patients. Frequent contact with distance-selling pharmacies is not common; however, highlighted concerns included patient safety issues and the potential threat to the loss of valued elements and sustainability of community pharmacy and dispensing practices. Identified concerns and experiences are unlikely to be routinely discussed within or between practices, limiting opportunities for shared learning and consideration of the potential impact of changes to dispensing processes and policies. Conclusions: Further research is needed to confirm these exploratory findings, due to the low response rate and sample size. Findings, nevertheless, highlight how wider changes in dispensing processes may have unintended consequences on other aspects of the healthcare system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hall N, Wilkes S, Sherwood J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Pharmacy Practice

Year: 2020

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 56-65

Print publication date: 01/02/2020

Online publication date: 29/08/2019

Acceptance date: 01/08/2019

Date deposited: 14/09/2021

ISSN (print): 0961-7671

ISSN (electronic): 2042-7174

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/ijpp.12573

PubMed id: 31468577


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