Collaboration not criticism, say pharmacists


The AMA has again taken a swipe at pharmacists over proposed changes in Queensland, saying they will put GPs out of a job

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland President Dr Dilip Dhupelia has warned against proposed changes that would allow Queensland pharmacists to dispense some medications without a prescription.

The state’s pharmacy inquiry provided several recommendations, including that the Health Department develop options for pharmacists to provide low-risk emergency medicines and repeat prescriptions, such as repeats of the oral contraceptive pill, and low-risk vaccinations.

“Many of the issues raised by medical practitioners and medical associations could be addressed by shared or collaborative prescribing model,” found the inquiry committee.

“Under this model, the prescribing doctor would need to authorise any repeat prescribing by a pharmacist, and the suitability of the patient to receive repeat prescriptions would need to be assessed by the treating doctor.

“There would need to be limitations on the number of repeats that can be prescribed, or the time lapsed, before a medical review is required, to ensure that the treatment remains effective and necessary.”

However Dr Dhupelia has warned that patients’ lives may be at risk under the proposed changes – as well as rural GPs’ jobs.

“GPs have on average 14 years of training. Pharmacists do not,” he told 7 News.

“Most rural GPs are bulk billing their patients and any further competition that they face will make their already marginal practices non-marginal.

“That training on the run provided to pharmacists will make them equivalent to general practitioners is farcical,” said Dr Dhupelia.

Meanwhile leading pharmacists have taken to Twitter to address Dr Dhupelia’s concerns by asserting the importance of “collaboration” if the proposed changes were to take place.

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