Pharmacy services or dispensing doctors in County Durham

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Summary of report content

views and experiences of individuals accessing pharmacy and dispensing doctor services across the county. They captured the views of 250 people during the period January to March 2020

Over half access pharmacy services at least monthly and a similar number always visit the same pharmacy service. Nearly three quarters use a high street pharmacy. Nearly all can easily access pharmacy services, and most people get there by car or taxi

The thing 3 things that pharmacies do well are making sure prescriptions are appropriate and available in a timely manner; knowledgeable staff provide advice and information; good customer care with friendly, caring staff.  Other services that respondents would like to access from pharmacies include a range of health checks eg blood pressure, blood tests, cholesterol checks, urine samples. Several people commented that they would like the pharmacist to be able to prescribe certain medications that would result in fewer visits to the GP surgery.

Pharmacy services could be improved by dispensing more quickly, receiving a text message to say medication is ready to collect; reduce paper copies when collecting medication to be more environmentally friendly.

Over four in five were aware of national and local publicity from the NHS to ‘selfcare’ ie to make more use of community pharmacy services as the first port of call for advice and treatment. Over two thirds said they were now more likely to contact/visit a pharmacy for advice.

Awareness of the services that pharmacies provide range from 97% for dispensing medicines to 47% for  sexual health testing and supplying a limited amount of prescription medication in an emergency. Use of services range over 90% for from the dispensing medicines service to 6% for sexual health testing.

Three quarters feel comfortable about getting advice from and talking to a pharmacist about health problems, and nearly three in five are able to talk in the pharmacy without being overheard.  Nearly three quarters have new medication explained to them by a pharmacist and a similar number said that the pharmacy usually has their prescribed medication in stock.

Over nine in ten said that the pharmacy staff are polite and helpful.

There were six recommendations about the speed at which medications are dispensed and the availability of medication; offering further health checks in pharmacies, privacy in pharmacies, explanations of how medications work and raising public awareness of pharmacy services.


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General details

Report title 
Pharmacy services or dispensing doctors in County Durham
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch County Durham
Date of publication 
Friday, 6 November, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 January, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 31 March, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Other government body
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Community pharmacy

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.