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The positive pharmacy care law: an area-level analysis of the relationship between community pharmacy distribution, urbanity and social deprivation in England
  1. Adam Todd1,2,
  2. Alison Copeland2,
  3. Andy Husband1,2,
  4. Adetayo Kasim2,
  5. Clare Bambra2,3
  1. 1Division of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University, Stockton-on-Tees, UK
  2. 2Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Durham University, Stockton-on-Tees, UK
  3. 3Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adam Todd; adam.todd{at}


Objectives To: (1) determine the percentage of the population in England that have access to a community pharmacy within 20 min walk; (2) explore any relationship between the walking distance and urbanity; (3) explore any relationship between the walking distance and social deprivation; and (4) explore any interactions between urbanity, social deprivation and community pharmacy access.

Design This area level analysis spatial study used postcodes for all community pharmacies in England. Each postcode was assigned to a population lookup table and lower super output area (LSOA). The LSOA was then matched to urbanity (urban, town and fringe or village, hamlet and isolated dwellings) and deprivation decile (using the Index of Multiple Deprivation score).

Primary outcome measure Access to a community pharmacy within 20 min walk.

Results Overall, 89.2% of the population is estimated to have access to a community pharmacy within 20 min walk. For urban areas, that is 98.3% of the population, for town and fringe, 79.9% of the population, while for rural areas, 18.9% of the population. For areas of lowest deprivation (deprivation decile 1) 90.2% of the population have access to a community pharmacy within 20 min walk, compared to 99.8% in areas of highest deprivation (deprivation decile 10), a percentage difference of 9.6% (8.2, 10.9).

Conclusions Our study shows that the majority of the population can access a community pharmacy within 20 min walk and crucially, access is greater in areas of highest deprivation—a positive pharmacy care law. More research is needed to explore the perceptions and experiences of people—from various levels of deprivation—around the accessibility of community pharmacy services.

  • Pharmacies
  • health services accessibility

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