Dispensing doctor : an underutilise resource?

Lim, David, Sunderland, V. Bruce, Lewis, Janice, & Emery, Jon (2014) Dispensing doctor : an underutilise resource? In Jackson, Claire (Ed.) Rocking the Boat : 2nd International Primary Health Care Reform Conference, 17 - 19 March 2014, Brisbane, QLD. (In Press)



Multidisciplinary models of organising and providing care have been proposed to decrease the health services gap between urban and rural populations but health workforce shortages exist across most professions and are further exacerbated by maldistribution. Flexibility and expansion of the range of tasks that a health professional can undertake were proposed. Dispensing doctors (DDs) are such an example. As part of DDs’ routine medical practice, DDs are able to both prescribe and dispense medicines to their patients. The granting of a dispensing licence to a doctor is intended to improve rural community access to medicines where there is no pharmacy within a reasonable distance.


An iterative, qualitative descriptive methodology was used to identify factors which influenced DDs’ practice. Qualitative data were collected by in-depth face-to-face and telephone interviews with DDs. A combination of processes: qualitative content analysis and constant comparison were used to analyse the interview transcripts thematically. Member checking and separate coding were utilised to ensure rigour.


Thirty-one interviews were conducted. The respondents universally acknowledged that the main reason for dispensing were for the convenience and benefits of their patients and to ensure continuity of care. DDs’ communities were generally more isolated and smaller when compared to their non-dispensing counterparts. DD-respondents viewed their dispensary as a service to the community. Peer pressure on prescribing was a key factors in self-regulating prescribing and dispensing.


DDs fulfill an important area of unmet needs by providing continuity of pharmaceutical care but the practice is hindered by significant barriers

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ID Code: 67893
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Dispensing doctor, Prescribing behaviour, Prescription practice
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Primary Health Care (111717)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Health Policy (160508)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Authors
Deposited On: 27 Feb 2014 04:07
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2016 21:06

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