Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 111–119 | Cite as

Developing consensus around the pharmaceutical public health competencies for community pharmacists in Scotland

  • David E. Pfleger
  • Lorna W. McHattie
  • H. Lesley Diack
  • Dorothy J. McCaig
  • Derek C. StewartEmail author
Research Article


Objective The new community pharmacy contract in Scotland will formalise the role of pharmacists in delivering public health services. To facilitate assessment of education and training needs it is necessary to define the relevant public health competencies for community pharmacists. The objective of this research was to define and develop consensus around such competencies. Methods The “Skills for Health National Occupational Standards for Public Health Practitioners” was used to define an initial set of competencies. A two stage Delphi technique was undertaken to develop consensus. An expert panel, representing public health and pharmacy stakeholders, rated their agreement with the importance of each competency, with the agreement level set at 90%. Main outcome measures Level of agreement (%) with each public health competency; those competencies achieving more than 90% agreement with importance for community pharmacy practice. Results Ten organisations (83% of those invited) and a total of 30 members (88%) agreed to take part in the process. In round 1 of the Delphi, responses were received from 25 (83%) individuals and 22 (73%) in round 2, with consensus being achieved for 25/68 (37%) competencies in round 1 and a further 8/68 (12%) in round 2. Conclusion Public health competencies for community pharmacists achieving consensus predominantly focused on health improvement activities at individual and local community levels and ethical management of self rather than those relating to surveillance and assessment and strategic development. There is a need to research community pharmacists’ views of these competencies and to systematically assess their education and training needs


Public health Pharmacist Competency Delphi technique Qualitative research Scotland 



The authors would like to acknowledge research funding provided by NHS Education for Scotland; the members of the expert panel for their interest and rapid responses; Laura Binnie for technical support; and Amber Bowbyes for administrative support.

Conflicts of Interest None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Pfleger
    • 1
  • Lorna W. McHattie
    • 1
  • H. Lesley Diack
    • 1
  • Dorothy J. McCaig
    • 1
  • Derek C. Stewart
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of PharmacyThe Robert Gordon UniversityAberdeenScotland, UK

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