Bissell, Paul, Savage, Imogen and Anderson, Claire (2006) A qualitative study of pharmacists' perspectives on the supply of emergency hormonal contraception via patient group direction in the UK. Contraception, 73 (3). pp. 265-270. ISSN 0010-7824

To investigate pharmacists' views and experiences of supplying emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) via a group prescribing protocol in community pharmacies in the UK.

Qualitative study using depth interviews.

Community pharmacists in Manchester, Salford and Trafford (Greater Manchester), and Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (London) Health Action Zones in the UK.

Forty-four community pharmacists supplying EHC in Manchester, Salford and Trafford, and Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (London).

Pharmacists were broadly very positive about their experiences supplying EHC via the group prescribing protocol. Pharmacists identified many benefits of the EHC schemes for clients, in particular, improved access to EHC at no cost to clients. The confidential nature of the scheme was also seen as an advantage as was the scope for referral to other service providers. Pharmacists also believed that the scheme had benefits for the profession in terms of enhanced professional standing. However, their concerns included the extent of repeated use of EHC, the possible impact on contraceptive behaviors and sexually transmitted infections and its impact on male coercive sexual behavior.

Although pharmacy supply of EHC may improve access for some clients and is perceived as a popular service, research into the implications of the schemes as identified in this study need to be conducted.

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