PARENT/PATIENT SATISFACTION SURVEY OF PHARMACY SERVICES
PROVIDED TO DAYCASE CANCER PATIENTS
Stephen Dewar, Janet Ferguson. Lothian Pharmacy Practice Unit, NHS Lothian
Standards have been set in NHS Scotland for the provision, management and safe use of
medicines in the care of patients with cancer'. The pharmacy service at the Royal Hospital
for Sick Children, Edinburgh has invested in staff and service development to meet these
standards of pharmaceutical care. This study investigates the parent / pati ent satisfaction
of pharmacy services provided to haematology/oncology outpatients.
Materials and methods
Semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted with two nurses involved in the
Haematology / Oncology outpatient clinic and four parents of pat ients attending the clinic to
establish their perception of concerns they may have about the pharmacy service. Issues
identified from the interviews included frustration with waiting for medicines, communication
and information needs. A patient satisfaction questionnaire was then designed for self-
administration at the clinic. Parent perceptions of waiting times for medicines were
measured using timed intervals. Existing pharmacy statistics were calculated to compare
population turnaround times. Service satisfaction was measured using a scale of 1-6.
Preferred choices of methods of receiving information were assessed using tick box
choices. The questionnaire was piloted in 4 patients and subsequently modified before
distributing personally to a parent of every child attending the haematology/oncology
outpatient clinic over a three month period (n=38).
All parents/patients responded (100% response). Two thirds, 22/33 (67%) believed they
waited more than one hour for their outpatient prescription. Phar macy statistics suggest
that patients wait around 50 mins for their prescription. Patients perceived longer waiting
times than pharmacy statistics suggest. Eighteen (58%) patients/parents reported a feeling
of frustration or anger at the length of wait. Parents/patients were generally satisfied with
the information, communication and general pharmacy service as a whole. Approximately
half the respondents reported detailed explanations of drug side effects, indications and
appropriate use. In 97% of cases, communication was provided by the pharmacist in the
patients preferred way. Parent/patient satisfaction with the pharmacy service was similar to
that reported for the hospital service in general.
The perception of waiting for medicine was a source of dissatisfaction. Education and
awareness of the complexity of the processes involved in chemotherapy dispensing (series
of systematic checks for safety and accuracy) may reduce this dissatisfaction. The
introduction of an appointment system for the outpatient clinic may reduce the overall time
spent in hospital. The standard of counseling, supply and information provided by the
pharmacist to patients/parents was satisfactory and should be maintained.
1. Cancer in Scotland: Sustaining Change. Scottish Executive. Edinburgh, 2004