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‘We do not seem to engage with dentists’: a qualitative study of primary healthcare staff and patients in the North East of England on the role of pharmacists in oral healthcare

Sturrock, Andrew, Preshaw, Philip M, Hayes, Catherine and Wilkes, Scott (2020) ‘We do not seem to engage with dentists’: a qualitative study of primary healthcare staff and patients in the North East of England on the role of pharmacists in oral healthcare. BMJ Open, 10 (2). e032261. ISSN 2044-6055

Item Type: Article


Objective: To explore the attitudes towards, and perceptions of, primary care healthcare staff and patients, regarding the role of clinical pharmacists in the provision of oral health advice and collaboration with dentists in general practice.

Design: Interpretivist methodology using qualitative semi-structured interviews and focus groups.

Participants 22 participants; 10 pharmacists; 3 general practitioners; 2 nurses; 1 practice manager; 6 patients.

Setting Primary care general medical practices in the North East of England and the University of Sunderland Patient Carer and Public Involvement group.

Methods: One-to-one semi-structured interviews were performed with primary care healthcare staff. An iterative approach using constant comparative analysis facilitated the ongoing enrichment of data; salient themes were identified using Framework Analysis and related back to extant literature. A focus group was held with patients to further explore key themes.

Results: Four salient and inter-related themes emerged: enhanced clinical roles; indicating rapidly changing roles of pharmacists working in general practice, increased responsibility and accountability of pharmacist prescribers and the delivery of advanced clinical services; limited knowledge; indicating basic understanding of appropriate oral health advice, but limited insight and provision of advice to patients with regards to links with systemic diseases and medication; geographical/situational isolation of the dental team; indicating the disparate contexts and challenges of multidisciplinary working in oral health, and patients’ attitudes towards dental care; integration of oral health advice; indicating the potential of pharmacists to integrate oral health advice into current roles and to target specific patient groups in practice.

Conclusions: The lack of integration between oral and general healthcare services potentially impacts negatively on patient care, requiring further interprofessional oral health education. The developing role of the pharmacist in general practice represents an opportunity to integrate oral health advice and/or interventions into the management of patients in this setting.

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More Information

Depositing User: Andrew Sturrock


Item ID: 11795
Identification Number:
ISSN: 2044-6055
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Andrew Sturrock: ORCID iD
ORCID for Catherine Hayes: ORCID iD
ORCID for Scott Wilkes: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2020 08:37
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 12:18


Author: Andrew Sturrock ORCID iD
Author: Catherine Hayes ORCID iD
Author: Scott Wilkes ORCID iD
Author: Philip M Preshaw

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Sciences > Pharmacy and Pharmacology

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