Effective delivery of pharmaceutical palliative care: challenges in the community pharmacy setting

J Palliat Med. 2012 Mar;15(3):317-21. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0262. Epub 2012 Feb 17.


Background: Medication, particularly analgesia, is an important component of palliative care. However, timely access to medication, particularly opioids, can become problematic for patients receiving palliative care in the community setting. In Scotland in 2009, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board (NHS GG&C), in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, established a programme to improve the local provision of pharmaceutical palliative care services with the appointment of Macmillan Pharmacist Facilitators. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde were commissioned to support the development and evaluation of this new service. We report the findings of this initial investigation into the provision of current palliative care services and outline an evidence-based action plan to support service improvement.

Methods and results: Qualitative data were gathered using focus group interviews. Three key themes were identified: medication supply, communication, and education and training.

Conclusions: The study findings have been used to develop an evidence-based action plan for the Macmillan Pharmacist Facilitators. This program of work is due for completion by December 2012.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration*
  • Scotland
  • United States