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Pharmacists more trusted than doctors, UK-wide survey finds

Pharmacists are the second most trusted source of health advice after nurses, according to a survey of over 1,000 people in the UK.

UK patients surveyed as part of a global look at trust across the healthcare system were found to have high levels of trust in pharmacies and pharmacists, according to the 2023 Edelman trust barometer special report on trust and health.


Edelman’s second annual survey revealed that pharmacists were the second most trusted source of health information after nurses among the 1,002 people surveyed in the UK, the communications company announced last week (June 1).


Read more: ‘Perhaps trust is pharmacy’s real prize with the cancer diagnosis pilot’


Eight in 10 respondents (80%) trust pharmacists to tell “the truth about health issues and about how best to protect the health of the public” compared with 79% who said the same about “my doctor” – defined as a person’s doctor or primary healthcare provider – it said.


On the other end of the scale, the CEOs and chief health officers at respondents’ companies were the least trusted groups, with trust in these figures ranked at 51% and 57% respectively.



Pharmacy businesses most trusted “to do what is right”


Respondents were also asked how much they trusted businesses in a number of healthcare sectors “to do what is right”.


According to the survey’s UK cohort, local pharmacies were the most trusted group by this measure with an 83% rating – rising by five percentage points since the previous year's survey. This was ahead of hospitals at 81%, health tech companies at 62% and pharmaceutical businesses at 60%.  


Read more: Public ‘overwhelmingly’ backs Pharmacy First, PSNC survey reveals


Private or government health insurance and vitamin or natural supplements companies were the least trusted companies in the sector, with trust ratings of 52% and 55% respectively.


Those surveyed were also asked about the societal factors that “in some way negatively impacted” their personal mental or physical health. Inflation was the most significant factor among UK respondents, at 71%. This was followed by “pandemic restrictions” at 69%, and “pollution”, “polarisation”, and “lack of trust”, each ranked at 53%.

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