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Support for community pharmacy-based alcohol interventions: a Scottish general public survey.

Fitzgerald, Niamh; Youngson, Elaine; Cunningham, Scott; Watson, Margaret; Stewart, Derek


Niamh Fitzgerald

Elaine Youngson

Margaret Watson

Derek Stewart


Background: Community pharmacy teams are recognised by health agencies as vital to increasing capacity in the provision of public health services. Public awareness and support of these services in general, and relating to safe alcohol consumption in particular, have yet to be established. This study aimed to determine the Scottish general public's views regarding the role and involvement of community pharmacists in reducing alcohol consumption amongst customers and alcohol-related harm. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 6000 adults in Scotland randomly sampled from the electoral register. The piloted questionnaire contained items on: those health professions which could potentially advise on safer alcohol consumption; areas of safer alcohol consumption on which pharmacists could advise; attitudes towards pharmacist involvement; and demographics. Results: Of the 1573 respondents (a 26.6% response rate), more than half (56.4%, 888) agreed that pharmacists could advise on safer alcohol consumption. Those agreeing expressed high levels of support (≥70% agreement) for all activities, particularly referring people to other individuals or organisations, discussing recommended alcohol consumption limits and how consumption may affect health. There was a high level of agreement of trust that pharmacists would discuss issues confidentially (68.7%, 1080), with a similar proportion (64.3%, 1011) agreeing that they would be concerned over privacy in a community pharmacy. Conclusion: Public support exists for pharmacist involvement in reducing alcohol consumption amongst customers and alcohol-related harm, with some concern over privacy. These findings warrant consideration as models of practice are developed and evaluated. Given the widespread availability of pharmacies and the ease of access to professional advice, there is potential for pharmacists to impact safer alcohol consumption although the efficacy of alcohol brief interventions remains to be demonstrated.


FITZGERALD, N., YOUNGSON, E., CUNNINGHAM, S., WATSON, M. and STEWART, D. 2015. Support for community pharmacy-based alcohol interventions: a Scottish general public survey. Public health [online], 129(11), pages 1431-1438. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2015
Publication Date Nov 30, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2016
Journal Public Health
Print ISSN 0033-3506
Electronic ISSN 1476-5616
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 129
Issue 11
Pages 1431-1438
Keywords Alcohol drinking; Pharmacy; Public health; Questionnaires; Scotland
Public URL