Citation Fitzgerald N, Youngson E, Cunningham S, Watson M & Stewart D (2015) Support for community pharmacy-based alcohol interventions: A Scottish general public survey. Public Health, 129 (11), pp. 1431-1438. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2015.07.005
Community pharmacy teams are recognised by health agencies as vital to increasing capacity in the provision of public health services. Public awareness and support of these services in general, and relating to safe alcohol consumption in particular, have yet to be established. This study aimed to determine the Scottish general public's views regarding the role and involvement of community pharmacists in reducing alcohol consumption amongst customers and alcohol-related harm.
A cross-sectional survey of 6000 adults in Scotland randomly sampled from the electoral register. The piloted questionnaire contained items on: those health professions which could potentially advise on safer alcohol consumption; areas of safer alcohol consumption on which pharmacists could advise; attitudes towards pharmacist involvement; and demographics.
Of the 1573 respondents (a 26.6% response rate), more than half (56.4%, 888) agreed that pharmacists could advise on safer alcohol consumption. Those agreeing expressed high levels of support (≥70% agreement) for all activities, particularly referring people to other individuals or organisations, discussing recommended alcohol consumption limits and how consumption may affect health. There was a high level of agreement of trust that pharmacists would discuss issues confidentially (68.7%, 1080), with a similar proportion (64.3%, 1011) agreeing that they would be concerned over privacy in a community pharmacy.
Public support exists for pharmacist involvement in reducing alcohol consumption amongst customers and alcohol-related harm, with some concern over privacy. These findings warrant consideration as models of practice are developed and evaluated. Given the widespread availability of pharmacies and the ease of access to professional advice, there is potential for pharmacists to impact safer alcohol consumption although the efficacy of alcohol brief interventions remains to be demonstrated.
Keywords Alcohol drinking; Pharmacy; Public health; Questionnaires; Scotland