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Obesity has reached pandemic levels, with more than 1.5 billion adults being affected worldwide. In Scotland two-thirds of men and more than half of women are either overweight or obese, placing Scotland overall third behind the United States of America and Mexico. All community pharmacies in Scotland are contracted to provide public health services such as smoking cessation and there is increasing interest in their contribution to weight management. Researching this area in Scotland may provide valuable information to facilitate the development of community pharmacy services in other parts of the UK and internationally. To describe the views of the Scottish general public on the provision of weight management services via community pharmacies. General public in Scotland. A cross-sectional postal questionnaire survey of 6,000 randomly selected members of the Scottish general public aged 18 years and over. Views on community pharmacy led weight management services. Questionnaires were returned by 20.6% (n = 1,236). Over half 60.1% (n = 751) agreed or strongly agreed that they had easy access to pharmacy services in general and around one-third agreed (35%; n = 438) that it was more convenient to obtain weight management advice from a pharmacist than it is to make an appointment with a GP. Most respondents however lacked awareness of the types of health services available through community pharmacy (13.2%; n = 162) and would not feel comfortable speaking to a pharmacist or medicines counter assistant about weight related issues (25%; n = 320). Concerns over privacy (47.3%; n = 592) and perceived lack of pharmacists' specialist knowledge (open comments) were identified as potential barriers to service uptake by the general public. Overall, respondents appear to be receptive to the idea of accessing weight management services through community pharmacy but a perceived lack of privacy, poor knowledge of pharmacists' skill level and of public health services available to them may explain the reluctance in the uptake of such services to date. The general public's views expressed in this study may help to shape future community pharmacy led weight management service provision.

Citation

Anita Elaine Weidmann, Scott Cunningham, Gwen Gray, Denise Hansford, Giovanna Bermano, Derek Stewart. Views of the Scottish general public on community pharmacy weight management services: international implications. International journal of clinical pharmacy. 2012 Apr;34(2):389-97

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PMID: 22382887

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