Main Article Content
Background: The growing drive in South Africa to contain medicine cost has seen the emergence of postal pharmacy as an alternative mechanism to dispense chronic medicines. Patient satisfaction with pharmaceutical services has received limited attention in South Africa.
Aim: The aim of this study was to compare the level of patient satisfaction with pharmaceutical services between postal and community pharmacies.
Setting: The research was conducted in the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu- Natal Province, South Africa in July and August 2014.
Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative study using a randomised, telephonic questionnaire survey was conducted. Selected land telephone numbers were called until a sample size of 250 community pharmacy participants and 125 postal pharmacy participants was obtained.
Results: Nine hundred and five telephone calls were made to obtain a sampling frame of 375 (41.44%) respondents, 250 for community and 125 for postal. After adjusting overall satisfaction by removing financial satisfaction, there was no significant difference between satisfaction in the two groups (p = 0.471). Postal pharmacy participants reported a higher level of financial satisfaction (p = 0.001). Community pharmacy participants reported a higher level of satisfaction with counselling or explanation (p = 0.028) and less medicine wastage (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Patient satisfaction with pharmaceutical services provided by either community or postal pharmacy was not significantly different. However, community pharmacies tend to address patients’ specific concerns more effectively. With the move to National Health Insurance, policymakers need to ensure that they provide high-quality pharmaceutical services and are more inclusive of community pharmacies to deliver quality care.
Keywords: pharmacy; postal; community; patient satisfaction; South Africa; survey.