• health services;
  • medicines;
  • pharmacist;
  • roles;
  • workforce


Objective:  To identify the key issues reported by rural health-care providers in their provision of medication supply and related cognitive services, and in order to advise health workforce and role development and thus improve the quality use of medicines in rural communities.

Design:  Exploratory semistructured interview research.

Setting:  A rural community comprising four towns in a rural health service district in Queensland, Australia.

Participants:  Forty-nine health-care providers (medical practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and others) with medication-related roles who serviced the study community, identified through databases and local contacts.

Main outcome measures:  Medication-related roles undertaken by the health-care providers, focusing on medication supply and cognitive services; challenges in undertaking these roles.

Results:  Medical and nursing providers reported challenges in ensuring continuity in supply of medications due to their existing medical workload demands. Local pharmacists were largely involved in medication supply, with limited capacity for extended cognitive roles. Participants identified a lack of support for their medication roles and the potential value of clinically focused pharmacists in medication management services.

Conclusions:  Medication supply may become more efficient with extended roles for certain health-care providers. The need for cognitive medication management services suggests potential for clinical pharmacists' role development in rural areas.