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Table 3 Compliance with national standards for ‘satisfactory’ and ‘commendable’ levels of patient medicines helpline access

From: Operating a patient medicines helpline: a survey study exploring current practice in England using the RE-AIM evaluation framework

National standards: Helpline access Percentage of NHS Trusts meeting each standarda
‘Satisfactory’ standards Calls charged at local rate or Freephone (not a premium number). 99% (108/109)
The phone line allows direct dialling from outside. 97% (106/109)
An answerphone allows a message to be left outside of advertised hours. 81% (88/108)
Contact with a pharmacy professional is always available during advertised hours. 71% (77/108)
Total compliance with access ‘satisfactory’ standards. 54% (58/108)
‘Commendable’ standards The helpline has a dedicated phone number. 60% (65/109)
There is access to the service by means other than telephone, such as email, webform, personal visitb. 39% (42/109)
Total compliance with access ‘commendable’ standards. 26% (28/107)
Total compliance with both ‘satisfactory’ and ‘commendable’ access standards 15% (16/107)
  1. Note. Although 117 of 226 acute, mental health, specialist, and community NHS Trusts reported providing a patient medicines helpline, not all NHS Trusts answered every survey question
  2. aNumbers in parentheses show the actual numbers of NHS Trusts that met the standard, out of the total number of Trusts which answered the survey question pertaining to the standard
  3. bThirty-four Trusts reported advertising their service as being accessible via one other method besides the telephone (31%), and eight Trusts reported advertising their service as being accessible via two other methods besides the telephone (7%). At thirty-four Trusts, their service was advertised as being accessible via email (31%). At eight Trusts, their service was advertised as being accessible via online web form (7%). At seven Trusts, their service was advertised as being accessible face-to-face (6%). At one Trust, their service was advertised as being accessible via social media (Twitter; 1%)