Background: Patient-focused care provided by an interprofessional team has long been presented as the preferred method of primary care delivery. Community pharmacists should and can provide leadership for many clinical and managerial activities within the primary care team.
Objective: To determine the extent to which community pharmacists are prepared to be members of the health care team, and to assess their support for general expansion of clinical responsibilities.
Methods: A mail questionnaire (in either English or French) was sent to 1500 community pharmacists between February and April 2004. Respondents were asked to indicate the necessity of pharmacy leadership for a range of clinical and managerial services associated with a primary care team. Respondents were also asked to indicate the extent to which they should be more involved in drug therapy selection and monitoring, as well as assuming greater responsibility for treating both minor and chronic illnesses.
Results: The response rate was 35.2% (470/1337) with the highest response rate in the Prairie provinces (40.6%) and the lowest in Quebec (24.4%). Most pharmacists in the study did not advocate a strong leadership role for non-discipline-specific clinical and managerial activities. Most of them indicated that community pharmacists should be more involved in selecting (69.9%) and monitoring (81.0%) drug therapy, and be more responsible for treating minor illnesses (72.0%). Support for more responsibility declined to 50% for chronic illnesses.
Conclusions: The findings of the study suggest substantial variability among pharmacists in their perception of the need for pharmacy leadership across 16 clinical and managerial activities.