Better meds access for Territorians

Alice Springs, NT

Pharmacist-led initiatives to improve medicine safety and access to essential medicines should be a key focus in the upcoming Northern Territory election, says one stakeholder

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is calling on Northern Territory political parties to commit to improve the health and wellness of Territorians through such initiatives.

PSA SA/NT Branch President Robyn Johns said that Northern Territory pharmacists skills and training were not being put to full use.

“The upcoming election is the ideal time to commit to new reforms for a healthier Northern Territory,” she said.

“PSA urges all Northern Territory political parties to take full advantage of the highly trained workforce by committing $600,000 for a two year trial of embedding pharmacists into three Darwin aged care facilities to reduce harm caused by medicines.

“Ninety-eight percent of residents in aged-care facilities have at least one medicine-related problem and eighty percent are prescribed inappropriate medicines.

“Pharmacists working within aged care having been shown to improve medicine safety and reduce the risk of medicine related hospitilisation caused particularly by psychotropic, opioids and sedative medicines.

PSA also urges political parties to focus on harm reduction strategies including funding 500 doses of intranasal naloxone through pharmacies to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses.

Ms Johns said funding the distribution of take-home naloxone nasal sprays will save the lives of Territorians, particularly in locations where ambulances have to travel long distances to provide emergency care.

“We also ask for the elected political party to work with PSA to develop online opioid pharmacotherapy training program for pharmacists to increase access to opioid replacement therapy,” she said.

“PSA currently offers a similar program in Victoria and pharmacists who undergo specific training in methadone and buprenorphine supply report greater confidence and willingness to offer pharmacotherapy services in community pharmacy.”

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