Another prominent GP has criticised pharmacist vaccinations, calling the expanded NSW program “shortsighted”
In late October, the NSW Government announced that it would expand pharmacist vaccination beyond protection from the flu.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro and Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced that accredited pharmacists in the state would, from January 2019, be able to administer the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (dTpa) and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines, in addition to flu shots.
The age patients can access these vaccinations from pharmacists will drop from 18 to 16.
Such an expansion had long been called for by stakeholders including the state branches of the Guild and PSA.
Now, in a piece published on the Australian Medical Association’s website, NSW AMA president Dr Kean-Seng Lim said the move would lead to further fragmentation of health care.
“A needle is more than a needle … it should be part of a comprehensive checkup,” Dr Lim said.
The piece says that GPs use the vaccinations as an opportunity to discuss other health problems or risks.
“This change comes shortly after the recommendations of a Queensland Pharmacy Inquiry which recommended expanding the role of pharmacists to include prescribing medication,” notes the AMA article.
“There has been concern raised about the influence undisclosed pharmacy lobby links of the committee members had on the recommendations of the report which overlooked numerous submissions advising against expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice.”
This claim links to an article by Medical Republic publisher Jeremy Knibbs, who writes that up to half the members of the committee conducting the Queensland inquiry had “undisclosed links to very senior members of the pharmacy lobby”.
He writes that the committee chair, Aaron Harper, is the member for Thuringowa, served by the North Queensland PHN, which is “likely to have had several dealings” with Mr Harper and which was chaired until late last year by Guild Queensland branch president Trent Twomey.
Another committee member, Joan Pease, has been “brought into contact on occasion” with Terry White.
“No wrongdoing is inferred in any of these relationships, however, it is apparent that up to half of the members of the inquiry had potentially meaningful dealings with senior members of the country’s pharmacy lobby in the lead up to the inquiry, none of which is declared in the inquiry report.”
Pharmacists expressed concern about Dr Lim’s comments.
Really struggling to understand how utilising the health workforce within their scope of practice to increase vacc rates and reduce communicable disease is “shortsighted”. Sounds more like fears of “fragmentation of income”. Let’s put the patient at the centre of our care https://t.co/Ke9F0FmmKJ
— Anthony Tassone (@A_Tass1) November 4, 2018
Reducing vaccine preventable disease is not fragmentation of healthcare, it is about improving access to improve health. This straw man argument does your doctors nor our patients any benefit. https://t.co/TzKXAFTIn1
— Shane Jackson (@ShaneJacks) November 4, 2018