A call for change

2018 2019 new year budget

Pilots in minor ailments and mental health, and 7-day hospital pharmacy services, are included in PSA and SHPA’s pre-budget submissions for 2018-19

The PSA and SHPA have this week released their separate pre-budget submissions for 2018-19 ahead of the Christmas season.

Their submissions outline several forward-thinking strategies for both community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson says there is a significant, cost-effective opportunity for the government to further optimise the contribution of pharmacists to Australia’s health system.

The organisation calls for a large-scale implementation trial of the pharmacists in general practice model, to determine the best approach for implementing an evidence-based model in Australia.

“A systematic review recently found integrating pharmacists in GP clinics resulted in interventions that significantly improved blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis management and cardiovascular risk,” says Dr Jackson.

The PSA also calls for a pilot of a pharmacist-delivered minor ailments program through community pharmacies in collaboration with local GPs.

“This would involve Primary Health Networks to target rural areas and areas with high numbers of emergency presentations for minor ailments,” says Dr Jackson.

PSA has also advocated for pharmacists to be “comprehensively utilised” in assisting mental health patients and their carers.

It proposes a small pilot project to investigate a service model for pharmacists in supporting the wellbeing of people living with mental health conditions and to evaluate the effectiveness of such an intervention.

PSA also calls for a review of the National Medicines Policy.

Summary of PSA’s key recommendations:

  1. $1.2 million for a discrete project to develop quality indicators for pharmacist practice in Australia.
  2. A large scale implementation project integrating pharmacists in general practice.
  3. $5 million for a pilot of a structured and collaborative pharmacist-delivered minor ailments service through community pharmacies.
  4. $3 million for a pilot project to investigate a structured service model for pharmacists to support people living with mental health conditions.
  5. $1.5 million for the development and implementation of training and practice support tools, to support pharmacists to better utilise MyHealthRecord.
  6. Funding for pharmacy student placements and postregistration experiential training in non-traditional settings.

Meanwhile the SHPA has asked for the Federal Budget 2018-19 to include policy measures to boost medicines compliance, as well as improved access to clinical pharmacy services on weekends.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says a targeted medicines support service would combat medicines non-adherence.

“It is estimated two-in-five Australians have stopped taking prescribed medicine before they were meant to, on at least one occasion, and over one quarter of all hospital readmissions involves medicine non-use, misuse or abuse,” says Ms Michaels.

“Echoing a successful model in the UK, a New Medicines Support Service in Australia would identify, on hospital discharge, patients with chronic diseases on complex medicines regimens – which are the costliest on the PBS – for follow-up face-to-face or telehealth pharmacist consultation to optimise medicines use.”

SHPA also calls for the new agreement on public hospital funding from 1 July 2020 to support the provision of seven-day services in hospitals.

“SHPA supports this as a matter of clinical safety, recognising that traditionally hospital pharmacies provide very limited services on the weekend, especially in regional and rural areas,” says the organisation in its submission.

“As key members of the clinical multidisciplinary team it is essential that pharmacy services … are delivered consistently to all patients who require them regardless of the day of their admission.”

The SHPA’s full list of recommendations includes:

  1. Support compliance and maximise return on investment in high cost PBS medicines.
  2. Reduce harm caused by opioid use initiated in hospitals.
  3. Bridge the gap for high-risk patients leaving hospital and returning to care in the community.
  4. Provide additional funding to support seven-day clinical pharmacy services in hospitals in the National Health Funding Reform Agreements for Public Hospitals beyond 2020.
  5. Address safety and quality concerns in aged care by embedding pharmacists in Commonwealth facilities and home nursing services.
  6. Improve antimicrobial stewardship in all Australian healthcare facilities to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
  7. Fund hospitals to provide Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Measure subsidies to Indigenous people.
  8. Develop a national pharmacy workforce reform strategy.

Read the full PSA Pre-Budget 2018-19 submission here.

Read the full SHPA Pre-Budget 2018-19 submission here.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve Cohen

    Hi Shane,
    Are we ok to include in this project Our Pills Talk Medication Safety App for dispensing pharmacists in retail and hospital sectors to improve the quality and safety with their doctor’s sigs spoken out, and in their preferred language, for the visually impaired community, ESL patients, Aboriginal, early stage dementia, the elderly, Autistic and others with their pills.
    Please contact me to discuss when convenient for you. I really appreciate your valued feedback. Thanks.

    Kind regards, Steve
    Steve Cohen B. Pharm. MPS JP

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