‘Deep seeded contempt of the community pharmacist’

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NSW Guild has briefed members on preparing for potential upcoming State and Federal elections, citing ‘contempt’ for community pharmacy within some government departments

NSW Guild President David Heffernan has called on pharmacist members to help maintain engagement with the public and politicians in the leadup to State and Federal elections, which he says may occur either this year or next.

He warns that in the wake of the codeine debate, there is a need to bolster efforts within community pharmacy to achieve outcomes required by patients.

“There appears a deep seeded contempt and/or wilful ignorance of the role of the community pharmacist within some government departments and their ancillary ‘stakeholder’ groups,” says Mr Heffernan in his latest ‘President’s Desk’ message.

“Despite logical, rational policy that would lead to positive patient outcomes and fiscally sound government policy, the codeine fiasco has sent pain management in Australia backwards while increasing cost to the taxpayer.

“If bureaucracy is not achieving the outcomes required, the public deserve to know why and have the right to vote in governments they trust to keep the ship on course.”

He also asked community pharmacists to identify their top 100 patients in an effort to help sell the value of community pharmacy.

“As the most accessible and accountable profession to the public, our patients have faith in us to let them know the truth of what is going on,” he says.

S8 scripts

In his President’s message, Mr Heffernan also urged members to ensure dispensing pharmacists take all the necessary steps when dispensing Schedule 8 medications.

This includes, but is not limited to, verifying the validity of the prescription and ascertaining whether the quantity prescribed is appropriate with recognised therapeutic standards.

“To ensure you are not at risk (both the proprietor and the dispensing pharmacist), it is incumbent on the dispensing pharmacist to ensure the prescriber has authority to prescribe to a drug dependent individual,” reminds Mr Heffernan.

“While it is not a stated requirement to ascertain NSW authority, you may be at risk if you do not have assurance.

“If the prescriber cannot product the authority, you should call the Duty Pharmacist at NSW Pharmaceutical Services Branch to ensure an authority exists.”

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