A pharmaceutical needs assessment in a primary care setting

S E Williams, C M Bond, C Menzies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background. As part of a reconfiguration of its general medical services, Ardach Health Centre has integrated a community pharmacist into the centre to provide pharmaceutical care. In order to systematically identify areas of 'pharmaceutical need', a needs assessment was carried out during October 1997.

Aim. To prioritise and assist the planning of pharmaceutical care provision within the centre, such that maximum gain could be achieved from inevitable limited resources.

Method. A four-stage pharmaceutical needs assessment method was created around a selection of techniques: gap analysis, the nominal group technique, and rapid participatory appraisal. This was then applied to a random sample of people drawn from the patient register of Ardach Health Centre and all the health care professionals associated with their care.

Results. Through the four-stage process, a pharmaceutical service priority league table was constructed to reflect the unmet pharmaceutical needs of patients and their primary health care providers. The table provided a structured framework around which pharmaceutical service provision within the health centre could be planned.

Conclusion: We have developed a pragmatic, systematic method of identifying the prevalence of unmet pharmaceutical needs of a community. The assessment assisted service selection, balancing what should be done with what could be done and what could be afforded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalThe British Journal of General Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • needs assessment
  • pharmaceutical services
  • primary care


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