AIM:To establish the views of community pharmacists on NHS Direct and its forthcoming integration with community pharmacy.\ud \ud DESIGN: Postal questionnaire survey.\ud \ud SUBJECTS AND SETTING: Pharmacists working in community pharmacies within the area of the NHS Direct Pharmacy pilot scheme - Essex, Barking and Havering.\ud \ud RESULTS: The response rate to the postal survey was 72% (263/364). Most pharmacies were generally supportive of NHS Direct (80%) and the pharmacy scheme in principle (83%), although their experience of the scheme in practice was limited. Perhaps because of this, the majority of pharmacists were unsure as to whether NHS Direct was referring appropriately, or whether the pharmacy would be able to meet the needs of patients without further referral. Almost half believed that patients referred by NHS Direct should be seen in a quiet area, away from the counter. Over two-thirds of pharmacists were willing to accommodate an NHS Direct information point in their pharmacy, although space was an issue.\ud \ud CONCLUSION: Overall the results of this study suggested that community pharmacists welcome their increasing involvement in the developing immediate care system. As the Government commitment in the NHS plan to integrate community pharmacy with NHS Direct becomes a reality across England and Wales over coming months the implications for pharmacists, in terms of workload and the adequacy of premises, will become clearer. Careful audit of the operation of the scheme will be essential
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