Community pharmacists' perceptions of barriers to communication with migrants

Jennifer A Cleland, Margaret C Watson, Leighton Walker, Alan Richard Denison, Neil K Vanes, Mandy Moffat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives  Effective communication by pharmacists is essential to ensure patient safety in terms of provision and use of medications by patients. Global migration trends mean community pharmacists increasingly encounter patients with a variety of first languages. The aim of this study was to explore community pharmacists' perceptions of communication barriers during the provision of care to A8 (nationals from central/Eastern European states) migrants.

Methods  A qualitative face-to-face interview study of purposively sampled community pharmacists, North East Scotland.

Key findings  Participants (n = 14) identified a number of barriers to providing optimal care to A8 migrants including: communication (information gathering and giving); confidentiality when using family/friends as translators; the impact of patient healthcare expectations on communication and the length of the consultation; and frustration with the process of the consultation.

Conclusions  Several barriers were specific to A8 migrants but most seemed pertinent to any group with limited English proficiency and reflect those found in studies of healthcare professionals caring for more traditional UK migrant populations. Further research is needed using objective outcome measures, such as consultation recordings, to measure the impact of these perceived barriers on pharmacist-patient consultations. Language and cultural barriers impact on the quality of pharmacist-patient communication and thus may have patient safety and pharmacist training implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number3
Early online date6 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

© 2011 The Authors. IJPP © 2011 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.


  • community pharmacy
  • cross-cultural communication
  • qualitative


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