Pharmacists in Australia’s capital need better support help people being discharged from hospital, one stakeholder says as the ACT election draws near
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is calling on Australian Capital Territory political parties to commit to improve the health and wellness of Canberrans through pharmacy-related initiatives which will improve medicine safety and access to essential medicines.
PSA ACT Branch President Renae Beardmore said pharmacists are among the most accessible healthcare providers, but they need to be better supported to practice to the full extent of their skills, expertise and training.
“The upcoming election is the perfect time to commit to new reforms that will allow pharmacists, as medicines experts to practice to their full scope that will lead to a healthier ACT,” she said.
“PSA urges all ACT political parties to sign up to Public Hospital Pharmaceutical Reform with the Commonwealth that will allow patients to receive a month’s worth of medicines via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which is in line with other states and territories.
“Currently ACT patients receive only three to seven days of medicines at discharge from hospital which creates a risk of hospital readmission or emergency presentation as patients may not be able to obtain ongoing medicine supply of critical medicines, such as those to prevent blood clots or heart attack.”
PSA also urges political parties to improve access to vaccinations to protect Canberrans against infectious diseases including COVID-19 when available.
Ms Beardmore said ACT pharmacist vaccinators are more than competent in vaccine administration, but are currently limited in the range of vaccines which can be administered.
“Other Australian states, as well as many overseas countries support greater heard immunity through pharmacist-administered vaccination against diseases such as hepatitis, cholera and polio,” she said.
“Removing restrictions which limit the range of vaccines, and other injectable medicines, that ACT pharmacists can safely administer will increase vaccine coverage in the ACT.”
“We also ask for the elected political party to appoint the ACT Chief Pharmacist to the ACT Government’s Health Emergency Management Unit (HEMU) Steering Committee to support planning, preparation and ensure the medical supply chain during emergencies.
“Pharmacists feel an obligation to assist and are readily available to do so, as demonstrated during the recent bushfire crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.
“During COVID-19 support to the community has been minimised, indeed impeded at times, by an early lack of involvement and engagement with pharmacists prior to an emergency, at the stage of planning and preparation.”
The ACT election is to be held on 17 October 2020. Early voting brought in due to COVID-19 has commenced.