Pharmacists can deliver efficient, quality health-care solutions
January 19, 2017
Pre-BUDGET SUBMISSION 2017-18
Including pharmacists in the Health Care Homes (HCH) initiative and implementing a large scale trial integrating pharmacists in general practice clinics are cost-effective solutions the Federal Government should consider in the 2017-18 Budget, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said today.
As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA outlined these key health reforms in its 2017-18 pre-Budget submission as well as called for pharmacists to become digital health champions to optimise medication management and encourage uptake of e-health records.
PSA National President Joe Demarte said pharmacists are highly accessible and qualified health professionals in Australia but their skills, knowledge and expertise are often under-utilised.
“There’s a significant opportunity for the Government to further optimise the contribution of pharmacists to improve healthcare and reduce costs in Australia’s health system,” Mr Demarte said.
Through the HCH initiative, Mr Demarte said pharmacists were best placed to provide medication management, high quality medicines advice and education to consumers, particularly those with chronic and complex conditions.
“Including a pharmacist in the HCH team has the potential to reduce poly-pharmacy, as well as preventable medication-related hospital admissions and readmissions,” Mr Demarte said. “Without a pharmacist in the HCH team, Australia lags behind other countries in terms of evidence-based models of care for consumers with chronic and complex conditions.”
In its 2017-18 pre-Budget submission, PSA also called on the Government to fund a large scale implementation trial integrating pharmacists in general practice, to determine the best approach for an evidence-based model in Australia and the value of this model to the health system.
“In Australia, the GP-pharmacist concept has been endorsed by leading medical organisations, acknowledging the value pharmacists add to the primary healthcare team. However the growth of this model has been limited to a small number of practices due to the absence of funding,” Mr Demarte said.
PSA has urged the Government to reform funding arrangements to optimise the roles of pharmacists in rural and remote areas to reduce the burden on hospitals and other medical professionals.
“In regional areas, there are often greater hospitalisations as lower levels of primary care force consumers to go to hospital for minor medical conditions that can be treated in a more appropriate setting,” Mr Demarte said.
Mr Demarte said to reduce these presentations, and provide access to safe and effective primary care for minor ailments, PSA has proposed the adoption of a Minor Ailment Scheme.
“The success of this cost-saving strategy has been demonstrated in the UK and Canada as an affordable and rapidly implementable solution,” Mr Demarte said.
PSA also urged the Government to allocate funding to develop quality indicators to measure health outcomes for pharmacist practice.
Mr Demarte said there are many positive outcomes for Australia by optimising the role of pharmacists, especially within collaborative healthcare frameworks.
“Pharmacists and the community pharmacy sector are critical to the Government’s efforts to achieve sustainable, efficient and quality healthcare in Australia.”
To read PSA’s 2017-18 pre-Budget submission: Optimising the contribution of pharmacists to achieve sustainable, efficient and quality healthcare for all Australians, click here>>
Pharmacists welcome new Federal Health Minister
January 18, 2017
The appointment of Victorian MP Greg Hunt as the new Federal Health Minister has been welcomed today by the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).
PSA National President Joe Demarte congratulated Mr Hunt and welcomed him to the important position of Minister for Health and Minister for Sport.
“We look forward to working closely with Mr Hunt on a number of key issues and reforms, including to further optimise the contribution of pharmacists to help improve healthcare and reduce cost in Australia’s health system,” Mr Demarte said.
“PSA urges the new Minister to progress the innovative work which has already been undertaken in the Health portfolio in terms of healthcare reforms involving pharmacists, especially the integration of pharmacists into general practice clinics and ensuring that pharmacists play a critical role in the Health Care Homes (HCH) initiative.”
Mr Demarte paid tribute to former Health Minister Sussan Ley, who made a positive contribution to the pharmacy sector. He thanked her for her strong support of pharmacists in Australia since her appointment in 2014.
“Ms Ley has been an accessible, proactive and supportive Health Minister and displayed a keen interest in the wide range of professional skills pharmacists possess and how they could be better utilised to improve health outcomes for the community,” Mr Demarte said.
PSA also congratulated Ken Wyatt on his promotion to Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health.
Pharmacists support chronic disease pilot in Victoria
January 12, 2017
A new pilot program enabling pharmacists to work more closely with general practitioners to improve healthcare outcomes and target chronic disease in Victoria has been welcomed by the peak national body for pharmacists, the PSA.
By expanding the role of pharmacists, the Chronic Disease Management pilot program – announced today by the Victorian Government – will see pharmacists and GPs work together to help patients manage chronic conditions and medication.
PSA National President Joe Demarte urged pharmacists in Victoria to nominate for the trial, which will allow eligible patients to visit their local pharmacist to monitor chronic conditions and manage medications.
“As the most accessible health professionals in Australia, pharmacists play an important role in providing health care in local communities – so we encourage pharmacists to get involved in this important trial,” Mr Demarte said.
Mr Demarte congratulated the Victorian Government on launching the 18-month trial, which provides an evidence-based and contemporary approach to optimising the health workforce.
“We applaud the new trial that will enable pharmacists to deliver primary care services to patients and help ease pressures on the health system as well as meet the growing challenges of chronic disease in local communities,” Mr Demarte said.
Some services pharmacists will offer under the trial will include renewing prescriptions or making dose adjustments to medication, which are within the current scope of practice for pharmacists.
“The Chronic Disease Management pilot program aligns with evidence-based practice and models of care that are working effectively internationally and we welcome the opportunity for pharmacists to participate in this trial with GPs,” Mr Demarte said.
On a national level, PSA is leading support for pharmacists to work in GP clinics as part of a collaborative primary healthcare model to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
“International experience shows pharmacists in a general practice setting improve patient health and also strengthen links between local general practices and community pharmacies,” Mr Demarte said.
Expressions of interest are now open until February 24, 2017, click here for details>>