Development, implementation and evaluation of a pilot project to deliver interventions on alcohol issues in community pharmacies



Fitzgerald N, McCaig D, Watson H, Thomson D & Stewart D (2008) Development, implementation and evaluation of a pilot project to deliver interventions on alcohol issues in community pharmacies. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 16 (1), pp. 17-22.

Objective: The aim was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the provision of brief interventions on alcohol misuse in community pharmacies. The objectives were to: train community pharmacists to initiate discussion of alcohol consumption with targeted pharmacy clients and screen, intervene or refer as appropriate; and to explore with pharmacists and clients the feasibility, acceptability and perceived value of screening and delivering the intervention. Setting: Eight community pharmacies in Greater Glasgow. Method: After a two-day training course for pharmacists (n = 9) and one day for pharmacy assistants (n = 13), the eight pharmacies recruited clients over 3 months. Standardised protocols were prepared to screen clients for hazardous or harmful drinking using the Fast Alcohol Screening Tool (FAST) and to guide the intervention. Clients were recruited from specific target groups and via posters highlighting the service. Following completion of the recruitment phase, pharmacists and clients were followed up by the research team, using a combination of focus groups and semi-structured telephone interviews. Key findings: During the study period 70 clients were recruited, 30 screened as drinking hazardously (42.9%) and 7 (10%) screened positive for harmful drinking. Interventions commonly included explanation of sensible drinking and units in clients' preferred drinks (n = 33), feedback on screening and risks to health (n = 27) and discussion of pros and cons of current drinking pattern and link with presenting issue (n = 23). Of the 40 clients agreeing to be followed up, 19 could be contacted and most were generally positive about the experience. On follow-up the pharmacists were positive and felt the project worthwhile and, importantly, noted no strong negative reactions from clients. Conclusion: This project has been successful in training community pharmacists to discuss alcohol with 70 clients. Further work is required to test the generalisability of our findings and to measure the impact on alcohol consumption.

International Journal of Pharmacy Practice: Volume 16, Issue 1

Publication date29/02/2008
Date accepted by journal18/07/2007
PublisherWiley-Blackwell for Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

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Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

Professor Niamh Fitzgerald

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing