Access to medicines in remote and rural areas: a survey of residents in the Scottish Highlands and Western Isles

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244
Number of pages251
JournalPublic Health
Volume129
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2015

Abstract

Sparsely populated areas are potentially predisposed to health inequalities due to limited access to services. This study aimed to explore and describe issues of access to medicines and related advice experienced by residents of the Scottish Highlands and Western Isles.
Anonymized questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of 6000 residents aged ≥18 years identified from the electoral register. The questionnaire contained items on: access to medicines; interactions with health care services; and perceptions of the services. Results were analysed using descriptive, inferential and spatial statistics.
Respondents accessed medicines and advice from a variety of sources. While most considered their access to medicines convenient, there were issues for those over 80 years and living alone. Perceived convenience would not appear to be solely based on geographical proximity to supply source. This requires further exploration given that these individuals are likely to have long-term conditions and be prescribed medicines on a chronic basis.

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