Assessing competencies and training needs of pharmacy staff to deliver chlamydia screening in community pharmacies

Mufiza Zia Kapadia*, Pamela Warner, Karen Fairhurst, Aileen Muir, Anna Glasier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In the UK community pharmacies have become involved in providing chlamydia testing and treatment (CT&T) to young people. Our objective was to ascertain among pharmacy staff their self-reported competencies and training needs prior to implementation of a pharmacy-based CT&T service. Methods: Self-complete questionnaires were posted to 166 community pharmacies in Lothian, Scotland. Questions included socio-demographic information and four-point Likert-type scale items addressing self-judged competencies and training needs for the provision of a CT&T service. Each competency item was transformed to a binary variable 'insufficiently competent' (comprising responses of 'not at all' or 'somewhat'), and each training need item to a binary variable 'substantial training need' (responses of 'full' or 'top-up' training needed). Results: Forty-one per cent of the 235 respondents were pharmacists, 32% technicians and 26% counter assistants. In respect of 'insufficient' competency, more than half of all staff responses were thus categorised for four competencies regarding offering and giving instructions for screening (60% to 83%), knowing the signs/symptoms of chlamydia (60%), raising the issue of sexual health (58%) and responding to a request for sexual health information (53%). 'Substantial training need' was identified for the majority of respondents, for all but two items, highest rates being for the four inter-communicative competencies: giving guidance on use of the kit, offering test to men, or to women, and advising regarding screening (71% to 83%). For pharmacist-only competencies the highest rates of substantial training need were for clarity regarding medico-legal aspects (Fraser guidelines), criteria for referral, and ability to take a sexual history and to review staff competencies for CT&T service (74% to 83%). Conclusions: Insufficient competency with respect to specifics of service procedure was not surprising, given that no training had yet been given and pharmacists and their support staff had not had any practical experience in the provision of the CT&T service. Substantial training need is particularly indicated for inter-communicative aspects specific to sexual health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2012


  • Chlamydia screening
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist aides
  • Professional role


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