The pharmacist manifesto

Joe Demarte, PSA national president

Election wish list highlights what pharmacy can do, says Joe Demarte

One of the few benefits of having a prolonged election campaign, from a peak organisation’s perspective, is that it allows time to not only produce but to actually promote an election manifesto.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has produced a 2016 election manifesto, Utilising Pharmacists to Achieve Better Health for Australians, with a specific purpose in mind. That is, to highlight innovative models of inter-professional care that better utilise the role of pharmacists in healthcare. These models are cost-effective, evidence-based reforms that the incoming Federal Government, whoever it is, should consider implementing.

In this manifesto, PSA calls on the incoming Government to facilitate the fulfilment of Australian pharmacists’ scope of practice by; ensuring pharmacists are included in inter-professional Health Care Home teams, implementing support mechanisms to support the full integration of pharmacists within General Practice, Residential Aged Care Facilities and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and recognising the value that pharmacists can have in the prevention of disease.

Health policy experts have acknowledged pharmacists are well-trained, have expertise in medicines and are located in communities throughout Australia but their role is more limited in Australia than in many other countries.

Australia is lagging behind implementing innovative care models which makes the best use of the unique skills and expertise of pharmacists to prevent and manage chronic and complex conditions.

PSA’s manifesto outlines five key reforms aimed at the incoming Government.

They are, ensuring the Health Care Home initiative is appropriately funded and based on best practice, evidence-based models of care which utilise pharmacists and exploring inter-professional collaboration, particularly between general practitioners and pharmacists, for Australians with chronic and complex conditions.

The next involves pharmacists in Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) teams to reduce medication misadventure, medication error and resulting medication-related hospital admissions.

Supporting culturally-responsive pharmacist care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to improve medication adherence and reduce chronic disease is the fourth reform. Investing in preventive health programs delivered through community pharmacies, including immunisation and smoking cessation services is the fifth.

The Society has also called on the incoming Government to commit to ensuring that Australian community pharmacies remain viable and accessible hubs of preventive and primary health care. Pharmacists must be better recognised as a key component of an effective Australian health care system.

PSA is committed to working with the incoming Government, whoever they are, to improve Australia’s health through excellence in pharmacist care.

Australia has a large pharmacist workforce that is highly trained – with a much younger age-profile than most other health professions – with great potential for this workforce to contribute to emerging and innovative models of care. As such, PSA has urged all major parties to consider how to utilise Australia’s pharmacist workforce to best meet their health policy objectives. Pharmacists are well placed to be part of the solution.

The manifesto has been sent to all the major parties and we look forward to working with political leaders on reforms to ensure a viable future for pharmacists.

Click here to view the PSA manifesto

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