The project

The Disability Partnership's Pharmacy Project was led by Mencap, in partnership with National Autistic Society, Scope and Sense, as part of our 2015-16 workplan within the Department of Health's voluntary sector Strategic Partners programme.

The Disability Partnership is a consortium of four national disability organisations, working within the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England, to highlight and address issues affecting disabled people and their families, within health and care services.

Woman in the waiting area of a pharmacy

The Disability Partnership’s Pharmacy Project

The key outcome from the project has been the 17 resources that have been produced and co-produced. They are broken down into four areas:

  • resources for people with a learning disability
  • resources for family carers and family members
  • resources for pharmacists
  • resources for external agencies to audit or support pharmacies.

Download resource The Disability Partnership’s Pharmacy Project

The Pharmacy Project set out to achieve three broad outcomes:

  1. To speak to disabled people and their families and carers, and professionals working in pharmacies, to confirm what barriers, issues and concerns exist in relation to the accessibility of pharmacy services.
  2. To create, co-create, adapt and collate resources that would support and guide the above groups to create and maintain more accessible pharmacy services.
  3. To work with pharmacy bodies such as the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the Royal Pharmacy Society (RPS), the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) and NHS England, to ensure that recommendations from the project and resources can be utilised and acted on as widely as possible.

What we did

The project worked with local groups of Disability Partnership organisations, local pharmacy associations and self-advocacy groups in Sheffield and Greenwich.

The project interviewed, surveyed, and held focus groups with over 500 people (comprising 506 disabled people and professional support staff, 56 pharmacists, and 35 family carers), gathering information about key concerns, and recording solutions to the barriers identified.

In both areas we conducted surveys of disabled people, both in-depth interviews and top level questionnaires to gather views, not just about the barriers that exist, but what solutions they might find useful to overcome the barriers. Each Location Lead ran a focus group with pharmacists in the area to gather their opinions on barriers about which we had learnt and to consider possible solutions to these barriers.

Key findings

  • Survey work showed that negative experiences of pharmacy services are not the norm. However, it is clear that a number of barriers exist; such as access to information, clear communication, and explanation of the purpose of medicines.
  • Survey work showed that a common experience of pharmacy services for disabled people and their supporters is one that is neither good nor bad. This is supported by feedback from pharmacists, with a third stating that their pharmacy is 'neither good nor bad' in meeting the needs of disabled people.
  • Clearly there is significant room for improvement to make use of pharmacy services for disabled people a positive and empowering experience in relation to managing their health.

The full project evaluation report can be found, here.

For further information on this project, please email productlegacy@mencap.org.uk

Further resources

Resources for healthcare professionals

If you are a healthcare professional and you want to learn more about supporting people with a learning disability, here are some resources you might find useful

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