Background Extensive literature shows that inappropriate use of medicines is a significant burden on to patients about their medication by pharmacists in hospital settings.
Purpose The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which information is provided, what content is covered and the effect of workload on the provision of information to patients in hospital settings and difference between new and repeat medications.
Materials and methods A non-participant observation of pharmacy staff and a survey. The setting was St. Georges Healthcare NHS Trust in London, UK. Results Both the survey (46% response rate 43/94) and the observation (n = 128) indicate that more information is provided in respect of new medications compared to repeat and more time is spent providing information regarding those medications. Less information is provided during hours with a higher workload. There was some variability in responses to hypothetical scenarios.
Conclusion There seems to be wide spread assumptions in the pharmacy profession that patients need less information when receiving repeat medication. This is debatable since it is more likely that they will lead to medication related problems (MRP). The fact that less information is provided to patients when the pharmacy is experiencing a higher workload raises concern. If the information is important resources need to be shifted to match the level of workload. There was a variation between the different types of medications with more information provided on medications known to cause MRP such as warfarin, metformin and isotretinoin. However, attention must also be paid to medications like ibuprofen, along with other NSAIDs, which is one of the most common medications to cause MRP.
No conflict of interest.
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