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Being told what a medicine is for is patients' top priority

Being told what a medicine is for is the top priority for patients when being prescribed a medicine. This was one of the findings of research published by the Scottish Government earlier this week (26 November 2008).

A total of 1,040 randomly selected people were interviewed. Participants were asked to rank nine statements about being prescribed medicines.

Overall, 35 per cent put “I am told what the medicines are for” in first place. The next most popular statements were: “I am told about possible side effects of medicines” (25 per cent) and “I am told how and when to take medicines” (18 per cent).

Of least importance was being given written information about medicines and exploring options other than prescribing. In the middle, the remaining statements covered how medicines work together, being able to request repeat prescriptions without appointment, who to ask if medicines do not seem to work and getting the same preparation of medicine each time.

In addition to the interviews, a number of focus groups were convened to find out more about patients’ experiences of the NHS in Scotland.

Pharmacists were identified as someone to consult for minor conditions but, for most health concerns, people wanted to see a GP.

The research was commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of the “Better together: Scotland’s patient experience programme”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10040672

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