ESCP research committee publish their pan-European study on the impact of COVID-19 on clinical pharmacy services

ESCP research committee have published their study on the impact of COVID-19 on clinical pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers used Pharmacy Emergency Preparedness and Response Framework and Disaster Preparedness Framework for pharmacy services to generate and analyse data collected through qualitative interviews with 22 clinical pharmacists from 16 European countries working in various clinical roles. The study findings, published in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy showed that pharmacists were adopting a range of innovative measures to protect patients, public and healthcare staff against virus transmission, and mitigate the adverse impact on public and healthcare systems and improve health outcomes of those affected. Facilitating clinical trials, gathering and appraising evidence, educating patients and healthcare professionals and disseminating clinical information were some of the activities reported. Many hospital-based pharmacists had to be reassigned to intensive care and participants described accounts of extensive disruption of routine clinical services and remote forms of communication were used.

Dr Vibhu Paudyal, chair of the research committee and principal investigator of the study added ‘this study has shown that governments, public health agencies and healthcare systems can really benefit by utilising and harnessing pharmacists’ skills and expertise in preparedness and response to current and any future pandemic. We need to make sure that the barriers identified in this study in relation to continuity of routine clinical pharmacy services and adoption of novel roles should be addressed to further strengthen the public health impact from pharmacists’ roles. We expect to see the novel roles to be sustained in practice even after the pandemic.’       

Professor Derek Stewart, president of the ESCP added ‘we were absolutely delighted by the participation in this study from pharmacists representing ESCP and EAHP. The level of commitment to pharmacy service delivery, adaptation and innovation during the most challenging of times is inspiring for all. Publication of this study greatly expands the emerging evidence base. We urge all to continue to innovate and participate in studies such as this. Being able to harness this evidence through professional societies is one of the benefits of membership.’

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The European Society of Clinical Pharmacy (ESCP) is an organization that promotes, supports, implements and advances education, practice and research in clinical pharmacy in order to optimize outcomes for patients and society.

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