Pharmacies 'providing unsafe advice' to patients
By Nigel Praities
Unsuitable and potentially dangerous advice is being given by poorly trained staff in some pharmacies, a survey suggests.
Investigators from Which? Magazine visited 101 pharmacies across the UK and found a third were not making adequate checks or providing the right advice to patients.
Over a third of pharmacy assistants did not ask the recommended questions of those buying the potentially harmful migraine dug Imgram Recovery, and most did not involve the pharmacist.
Nearly 44% of pharmacies did not refer investigators saying they had long-term diarrhoea after going on holiday to their GP, and a number did not ensure the privacy of those wanting emergency contraception or give them any advice about long-term contraception or sexually transmitted infections.
The research comes after GPs expressed concern over controversial government proposals released in a white paper earlier this year to increase the role of pharmacies in providing services for patients with minor ailments and long-term conditions.
Which? Magazine said although the results were better than in 2004, pharmacies were still failing to comply with their mandatory duties.
‘We are concerned that one in three visits elicited an unsatisfactory outcome – especially given the proposals to extend the remit of pharmacies,' the magazine reads.
A statement from the National Pharmacy Association said the results showed improvement and there was still a case for new services in pharmacies.
‘Community pharmacies have convenient opening times and are located near where people live and work making the case for rolling out these services across all pharmacies. However, it also true that there is still room for quality to improve further and the NPA will be playing its part in full to improve quality across the sector.'Pharmacies: dangerous advice being given says Which? Pharmacies: dangerous advice being given says Which?