Background Up to 50% of medicines are not taken as recommended with potential for reduced benefits or treatment failure and financial implications of the unused medicines. The NICE clinical guideline on Medicines Adherence is relevant to all healthcare workers but there has been no formal assessment of its uptake among pharmacists.
Objectives To determine awareness and application of the Medicines Adherence guideline among UK hospital pharmacists
Method A postal self-completion questionnaire was sent to hospital pharmacies across northwest England. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the responses and key themes identified from free-text comments.
Results There were 45 responses. Pharmacists were aware of the guideline via communication from NICE (26%), pharmaceutical/medical press (20%) and local communication (14%). 20% of respondents reported that their hospital/department had guidance in place before publication of the guideline and 23% that their hospital issued guidance after publication. 39% already used the principles of the guideline in their practice and further independent action was not needed whereas 22% changed their practice. Although most pharmacists considered they had adequate experience and training, insufficient time and technical support were major barriers to addressing adherence issues in practice.
Discussion Improved communication about the guideline is needed. Many pharmacists want to apply the principles of the guideline but need support to overcome barriers to effective implementation.
Implications for Guideline Developers/Users Guideline developers could help implementation by disseminating relevant guideline information more specifically at pharmacists. Cross-referral to the Medicines Adherence guideline could be included in all other relevant NICE guidelines.
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