How is the language of medicines use review leaflets symbolising the service?
van den Berg, M. and Donyai, P. (2008) How is the language of medicines use review leaflets symbolising the service? International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 15 (S1). A9. ISSN 0961-7671
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Introduction The medicines use review (MUR), a new community pharmacy ‘service’, was launched in England and Wales to improve patients’ knowledge and use of medicines through a private, patient–pharmacist appointment. After 18 months, only 30% of pharmacies are providing MURs; at an average of 120 per annum (maximum 400 allowed).1 One reason linked to low delivery is patient recruitment.2 Our aim was to examine how the MUR is symbolised and given meaning via printed patient information, and potential implications. Method The language of 10 MUR patient leaflets, including the NHS booklet,3 and leaflets from multiples and wholesalers was evaluated by discourse analysis. Results and Discussion Before experiencing MURs, patients conceivably ‘categorise’ relationships with pharmacists based on traditional interactions.4 Yet none of the leaflets explicitly describe the MUR as ‘new’ and presuppose patients would become involved in activities outside of their pre-existing relationship with pharmacists such as appointments, self-completion of charts, and pharmacy action plans. The MUR process is described inconsistently, with interchangeable use of formal (‘review meeting‘) and informal (‘friendly’) terminology, the latter presumably to portray an intended ‘negotiation model’ of interaction.5 Assumptions exist about attitudes (‘not understanding’; ‘problems’) that might lead patients to an appointment. However, research has identified a multitude of reasons why patients choose (or not) to consult practitioners,6 and marketing of MURs should also consider other barriers. For example, it may be prudent to remove time limits to avoid implying patients might not be listened to fully, during what is for them an additional practitioner consultation.
1 Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee. MUR Statistics. www.psnc.org.uk/index.php?typepage&pid72&k3 (accessed April 30, 2007). 2 Hall J, Smith I, Adams A. Why are pharmacists not doing MURs? Poster presentation at the Health Services Research and Pharmacy Practice Conference, Bath, April 3–4, 2006. 3 Department of Health. Medicines use review: understand your medicines. www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/12/68/44/04126844.pdf (Accessed April 30, 2007). 4 Giddens A, Turner JH, editors. Social theory today. Cambridge: Polity; 1987. 5 Bury M. Health and illness in a changing society. London: Routledge; 1997. 6 Helman CG. Culture, health and illness. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2000.