The professional services likely to be funded under the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement “beggar belief,” vice president of the AMA Dr Steven Parnis says.
Dr Parnis told 3AW radio host Neil Mitchell that Health is discussing the movement of pharmacy into areas “that have been the domain of doctors and nurses for many many years”.
These areas included photographing skin lesions or moles and sending them to doctors for diagnosis, he said.
“Potentially things like checking of blood pressure, whatever that means. Advice about weight and one that really made my jaw drop was mental health assessments. So it really beggars belief… where’s the training, where’s the expertise, what happens when, not if, something goes wrong, and where is the evidence of the cost effectiveness?”
Mitchell said he liked and trusted pharmacists, but felt that their expertise lay in “the chemicals, the drugs, the medication”.
Dr Parnis also queried pharmacists’ ability in wound management.
“I don’t know that they’ve got any training about the principles of pathology or wound healing or circulation or dressing.
“My concern is that the first action will be to look at what they’ve got on the shelf that they can use for this and that is exactly the wrong way to go about providing care to a patient. So I don’t think there’s any sense in what’s being proposed here.”
The 2014 Pharmacy of the Year, Charnwood Capital Chemist has allied health referral rights to the Lymphoedema Clinic at the nearby Calvary Hospital, and some time ago partnered with ACT Wound Care to participate in a government-funded study examining ulcer patients.
Dr Parnis also slammed pharmacy vaccination.
“We’ve said that that’s something that should be reserved for doctors and nurses because we’re the ones with the training and again haven’t seen one thankfully thus far, but what happens when something goes wrong,” he told Mitchell.
“Allergic reactions are not uncommon. Patient selection is an important part of this, and even basic anatomy.”
He said pharmacists could not learn this by “doing a weekend course”.
“It beggars belief sometimes, and again everything’s fine if nothing is seen to go wrong, but when something does – and I’ve been witness to an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccination and I can tell you I’m an emergency specialist and even that gets your anxiety levels up, but I’ve got the training to deal with this,” he told Mitchell. “Pharmacists don’t.”
Management of these reactions is a key part of the pharmacy vaccination training and was mandated under the original pilot.
Dr Parnis said that if the Government intended to save money and look for innovative models of care, the intention was good but that greater pharmacist involvement in these areas was not collaborative or evidence-based.