Background: Pharmacists are viewed as highly trained yet underutilised and there is growing support to extend the role of the pharmacist within the primary health care sector. The integration of a pharmacist into a general practice medical centre is not a new concept however is a novel approach in Australia and evidence supporting this role is currently limited. This study aimed to describe the opinions of local stakeholders in South-East Queensland on the integration of a pharmacist into the Australian general practice environment.
Methods: A sample of general practitioners, health care consumers, pharmacists and practice managers in South-East Queensland were invited to participate in focus groups or semi-structured interviews. Seeding questions common to all sessions were used to facilitate discussion. Sessions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Leximancer software was used to qualitatively analyse responses.
Results: A total of 58 participants took part in five focus groups and eighteen semi-structured interviews. Concepts relating to six themes based on the seeding questions were identified. These included positively viewed roles such as medication reviews and prescribing, negatively viewed roles such as dispensing and diagnosing, barriers to pharmacist integration such as medical culture and remuneration, facilitators to pharmacist integration such as remuneration and training, benefits of integration such as access to the patient's medical file, and potential funding models.
Conclusions: These findings and future research may aid the development of a new model of integrated primary health care services involving pharmacist practitioners.