Citation McCaig D, Fitzgerald N & Stewart D (2011) Provision of advice on alcohol use in community pharmacy: A cross-sectional survey of pharmacists' practice, knowledge, views and confidence. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 19 (3), pp. 171-178. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7174.2011.00111.x
Abstract Objective: Community pharmacists are well placed to provide advice to clients on public health issues such as alcohol use. The aim of the study was to characterise community pharmacists' current level of activity and views on providing such advice in Scotland.
Method: A postal questionnaire survey, covering provision of advice, knowledge and views on alcohol issues, was sent to all community pharmacies in Scotland (n = 1098).
Key findings: The response rate was 45% (497/1098). Knowledge of recommended alcohol-intake limits was high (79 and 84% correct for male and female limits, respectively), but few respondents (5%) currently advised clients on alcohol consumption once a week or more and 29% had never done so. Around a quarter were confident in explaining alcohol limits, binge drinking and confidentiality issues, but about 40% lacked confidence in screening and providing a brief intervention on alcohol. Respondents expressed mixed views on the appropriateness of pharmacist involvement in discussing alcohol use with clients. Attitudes to harmful or hazardous drinkers varied: some 20% of respondents felt uncomfortable with this group, whereas another 20% felt they could work with this group as well as with any other.
Conclusion: Community pharmacists in Scotland provide little advice on alcohol use, have a reasonable knowledge of recommended limits but lack the knowledge and confidence to provide a brief intervention. Implementation of a brief alcohol intervention in community pharmacy, therefore, would need to be underpinned by an appropriate training programme. Such a programme needs to provide factual knowledge but must also address pharmacists' attitudes to clients and promote confidence in service delivery.
Keywords alcohol brief intervention;
Journal International Journal of Pharmacy Practice: Volume 19, Issue 3