The feasibility and acceptability of the provision of alcohol screening and brief advice in pharmacies for women accessing emergency contraception: An evaluation study

Sally Brown*, Emily Henderson, Claire Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: It is widely accepted that excessive drinking contributes to both health and social problems. There has been considerable interest in the potential of community pharmacies as a setting for health advice, and evidence suggests that interventions by pharmacists can be effective. Research on interventions relating to alcohol consumption in primary care has focused on general practice, and although some evidence exists about the efficacy of pharmacy interventions, little research to date has taken place in the UK. The aim of this study was to evaluate the acceptability of alcohol screening and brief interventions to women accessing emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) in community pharmacies. Methods: An initiative whereby women who accessed community pharmacies for EHC would be asked to complete an AUDIT questionnaire following their EHC consultation was introduced by a Primary Care Trust (PCT) in the North-East of England. The evaluation incorporated three strands: interviewing pharmacists (n = 14) about the implementation and acceptability of the initiative; interviewing clients (n = 22) identified as "low risk" to understand their perceptions of the initiative; conducting online follow-up surveys with clients in the "risky" group (n = 53) to evaluate the impact of the initiative on their alcohol consumption and contraceptive behaviour, as well as their perceptions of the service. Results: Pharmacists' attitudes towards screening were generally positive, although there were organisational obstacles to providing the service. Some felt uncertain about engaging clients in conversation about a sensitive topic. However, clients themselves did not report feeling embarrassed or upset, and most were happy to talk to the pharmacist and be given advice. Most clients felt that the pharmacist was an appropriate person to carry out alcohol screening and advice. Conclusions: It is feasible for pharmacists to carry out screening and brief advice, and most customers find it acceptable. However, pharmacist take-up of the service and participation in the study was low. Pharmacists were enthusiastic about providing screening and other health promotion services; targeting different population groups for alcohol screening may be more successful. Delivery of the AUDIT tool by pharmacists may not obtain reliable responses from some specific client groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1139
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume14
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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