Australia should follow UK for pharmacists in GP clinics
April 27, 2016
The Australian Government should follow the United Kingdom to provide funding support for integrating pharmacists into general practice clinics, according to the peak national organisation for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).
The British Department of Health – through NHS England – has announced a £112 million ($A211m) investment in new roles for pharmacists in general practice, which is expected to lead to an extra 1500 pharmacists in general practice over the next five years.
PSA National President Joe Demarte said the UK’s innovative pharmacist-GP model should be urgently considered with funding from the Federal Government as part of the 2016-17 Budget.
“There’s been an overwhelmingly positive response to having pharmacists in general practice clinics in the UK – and many other countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the USA now have pharmacists providing clinical services in general practice settings,” Mr Demarte said.
“Australian pharmacists are highly-qualified health professionals however their skills, knowledge and expertise often go under-recognised and under-utilised.”
In its 2016-17 pre-Budget submission, PSA urged the Government to consider how existing health resources can be better coordinated and targeted within a collaborative primary healthcare model to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
“International experience shows pharmacists in a general practice setting not only improves patient health but can also strengthen links between local general practices and community pharmacies.
“The model PSA supports will allow greater integration of pharmacists and community pharmacies within the primary healthcare setting to ensure alignment and coordination of services, including those funded through the 6CPA. This model is good for patients, good for pharmacies and good for general practices.”
Mr Demarte said there were several examples and strong local evidence for pharmacists working with GPs across Australia to provide a wide range of services to both consumers and practice staff.
“Practice pharmacists assist with medication enquiries from patients and health professionals, conduct staff education, mentor new prescribers, participate in case conferences, liaise across health sectors and evaluate drug utilisation to ensure optimal therapy,” Mr Demarte said.
To read the PSA’s 2016-17 pre-Budget submission: visit www.psa.org.au/submissions/psa-pre-budget-submission-2016-17
Media contact: Brad Watts
Pharmacy bodies welcome Real Time Prescription Monitoring
Joint statement – 25 April 2016
The Victorian Branches of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) have welcomed the Victorian Government’s funding commitment of $30 million in this week’s 2016-17 State Budget for the implementation of a Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) system.
A RTPM system will help identify people at risk of harm who may currently visit multiple doctors and pharmacies seeking multiple quantities or doses of some prescription medicines.
Recommendations for a RTPM system have been the subject of 21 coronial findings since 2012. Sadly, more people have lost their lives in recent years from overdoses of prescription drugs compared with those dying in road accidents.
The PSA and the Guild believe a RTPM system will save lives and identify those with prescription drug addiction earlier than currently possible. Along with the implementation of a RTPM system, the funding commitment includes offering much-needed additional counselling and addiction treatment services, as well as providing training and support for doctors and pharmacists to identify and help prescription drug misusers earlier.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone applauded the Victorian Government’s decision, saying it was a substantial funding commitment that did not only include the RTPM system.
“Whilst a real time prescription monitoring will go a long way to identify patients who may unfortunately have a drug dependency or drug misuse concern, it’s vital that there are appropriately funded drug addiction and counselling services to refer patients,” Mr Tassone said.
“This is a complex issue that needs a broad solution, and the Victorian Government has shown great vision in recognising this that a software system alone is not the complete answer.”
PSA Victorian Branch President Benjamin Marchant said:
“The RTPM system is a significant step forward by the Victorian Government. I appeal to all doctors and pharmacists to implement the system in their practice, as this will ensure a higher level of patient care through identification, and better referral and assistance to individuals with drug misuse problems.”
The Victorian branches of the PSA and Guild look forward to continuing to work with the Victorian Government, Department of Health and Human Services along with other health professions and groups to see the successful implementation of this vital RTPM system that will prevent avoidable prescription drug overdose related deaths.
For more information, contact:
PSA Executive Director, Communications
0487 922 176
Pharmacy Guild, Director Communications
0412 910 261