Pharmacists need more support on frontline – as role in patient care intensifies

  • New pharmacy co-operative, Haven Pharmacy, is calling for more recognition and support for local community health
  • New research shows that 61% of patients are going to their local pharmacist first for advice on both chronic and minor ailments
  • €2 million investment in rebranding of the group’s 40 local community pharmacies

Daragh Connolly, Chairman of Haven Pharmacy, the new co-operative pharmacy group, is calling on the HSE to recognise and support the increasing role the pharmacist plays in managing the health of local communities.

“We are becoming the first port of call for patient’s health matters and this is growing not just for minor ailments but in helping to better manage chronic conditions such as cardiovascular illness, asthma, diabetes“ said Connolly. “ It’s a big responsibility which we are more than qualified to deliver but we need the support to provide better health screenings in our pharmacies and an overall improved health service at community level.”

“The government’s Healthy Ireland initiative is looking to empower communities to make healthier choices but part of these choices will be informed by an increased relationship and dialogue with health professionals. The local community pharmacist is in a unique position to deliver on this. They have the local knowledge, they have the expertise and they already have a level of rapport and trust with the patient – and importantly their door is always open. The research we have conducted strongly highlights the true impact of the pharmacist’s role” said Connolly.

The Haven Pharmacy research was conducted in 43 local community pharmacies across Ireland. A total of 1100 interventions – consultations not relating to doctors’ prescriptions – were analysed between a patient and the pharmacist across the course of a week (Mon 12th –Sat 17th) in May 2014. Results highlighted the following:

  • 61% of patients were consulting their pharmacist about a symptom that the GP was not aware of
  • 73% of interventions resulted in treatment from the pharmacist and 24% were referred to GP
  • The majority of interventions were with women (47%) followed by men (32%) and a parent with a child under six years (21%)
  • Interventions were reasonably balanced between chronic ailments (43%) and minor ailments (57%)
  • The most common minor ailment was respiratory coughs and colds (17%)
  • Cardiovascular illness was fourth on the list of most common chronic ailments before infection and respiratory (fifth) and after gastrointestinal (third)

“One of the most significant statistics in the research is the number of patients coming to us about cardiovascular ailments, whether this was related to blood pressure or cholesterol or a related symptom” said Connolly. “Cardiovascular disease accounts for 33% of deaths in Ireland and the pharmacist can play a significant role in prevention and detection through more education and more screenings. One of our main objectives at Haven Pharmacy is to draw on our shared expertise and knowledge so we can deliver this at local level for better patient health management and health education. There’s no reason why health screenings shouldn’t become common place in all pharmacies – but we will need government and regulatory support.”

“We already know the success that flu vaccinations can have in pharmacies. We need to learn from this and recognise that the pharmacist plays an important role in community health – as we all work as one team to build a healthier Ireland” said Connolly.

Haven Pharmacy is the new brand created by the Indepharm Co-operative Group for its 46 local, independent community pharmacies based all over Ireland. €2 million has been invested to date in the rebranding of 40 pharmacies and another six pharmacies are due to be rebranded by the end of 2014. The group is the leading, fastest growing independent co-operative pharmacy group in Ireland with over 100 pharmacists, over 300 staff, practising in urban and rural areas – and dispensing more medicines than any other pharmacy group in Ireland.

Regular health screenings, health talks (inc. cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure) and research will be a major part of the group’s overall professional service as well as on-going value offers and promotions: Haven Hot Spots and Haven Top 5.

Haven Pharmacy is focusing on local consumers who are looking for expert advice and regular offers – delivered personally by their own local pharmacist – who many of them have known and served for generations. Each of the pharmacies will remain an integral part of their local community with the autonomy to make decisions at a local level and tailor their offer for their customers –but with the backing of a national brand and national support.

Media enquiries
Ina Foley
+353 87 839 4000

Haven Pharmacy Intervention Research

Ten Most Common Ailments

1 Respiratory coughs and colds 12%
2 Minor skin ailments 12%
3 Eye, ear nose and throat (chronic) 8%
4 Respiratory – hay fever 8%
5 Chronic skin ailments 7%
6 Pain and fever 6%
7 Digestive tract 6%
8 Gastrointestinal 6%
9 Cardiovascular 4%
10 Child health 4%
11 Other 2%

Most Common Minor Ailments

1 Respiratory coughs and colds 22%
2 Minor skin 21%
3 Respiratory – hayfever 14%
4 Pain and fever 11%
5 Digestive tract 6%
6 Other 26%

Most Common Chronic Ailments

1 Eye, ear, nose and throat 19%
2 Chronic skin 17%
3 Gastrointestinal 13%
4 Cardiovascular 10%
5 Infection 8%
5 Respiratory 8%
7 Other 25%

Download the research charts & information here (PDF format)