April 17, 2015
Recommendation for greater pharmacist role in mental health welcomed
A recommendation made in the Report of the National Review of Mental Health that incentives be introduced to include pharmacists as key members of the mental healthcare team have been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
The Report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services supports changes to maximise the potential of non-dispensing pharmacists to work with doctors and other health practitioners to meet health needs, relieve the strains on the health budget and improve the health outcomes of people experiencing mental health issues, their families and supporters.
National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the report reflected advocacy undertaken by the PSA which highlighted the important role pharmacists can play in mental health.
“The report notes that pharmacists need to be a part of an integrated approach, working with GPs who are providing continuous follow-up care, and with other members of the multi-disciplinary team,” Mr Kardachi said.
“Additionally, the report identifies the opportunities provided in the upcoming Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, noting the agreement provides an ideal opportunity to put in place incentives that recognise and reward the role of community pharmacists in the treatment team.
“Pharmacists are pivotal in such teams as they are the most accessible of all health professionals and often the first health professional consulted by a person with mental health issues.”
Mr Kardachi said that for too long the role pharmacists could play as part of the mental health team had been overlooked and the report should be the catalyst for change.
“It goes further to provide a particular focus on mental health and the mental health team, recognising that people with severe mental ill-health issues often are on multiple medications,” Mr Kardachi said.
Mr Kardachi acknowledged the work of former PSA Vice-President and Board member Dr Claire O’Reilly in the area of promoting the pharmacist’s role in mental health.
“Dr O’Reilly has worked tirelessly in addressing health professionals’ stigma to mental illness and in developing the role of the pharmacist as part of a multidisciplinary mental health care team,” Mr Kardachi said.