Community pharmacy service is an integral part of primary care. During COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists working alongside with other front-line healthcare professionals had to secure the availability, accessibility, and quality of the service to maintain the health of the population. Evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organization, quality and provision of community pharmacy services in Estonia. 35 qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (10 representatives of Estonian governmental institutions and pharmaceutical companies (experts), and 25 pharmacists from different regions of Estonia) were conducted online in April-June 2020. Recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic textual analysis based on the interview schedule was performed. Pharmacies were able to reorganize service provision based on national situation and governmental instructions to ensure the safety of patients and pharmacists and the availability of the service. National restrictions on the prescribing and dispensing of medicines were generally considered appropriate. As the provision of the primary care service was mostly restricted, then most pharmacies remained open and became an important information- and service-provider. The quality of pharmacy services became more demanding with addition towards COVID-19 specific healthcare information. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the operation of community pharmacies in Estonia, but nevertheless a high-quality pharmacy service was available to patients throughout the lockdown period in spring and community pharmacists demonstrated their crucial role in primary healthcare. It is important to maintain access to medicines and develop rapid communication pathways with other healthcare providers and governmental institutions in situation of crisis.
- 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)