Leading doctors have attacked pharmacists over the Guild’s bid to make better use of pharmacists
Writing in the Sunday Herald Sun, News Corp reporter Mandy Squires wrote that Australians are “forking out big bucks” to visit their GP, only to be told to take paracetamol.
“Patients around the country are wasting tens-of-millions of dollars each year on medical appointments with GP’s according to startling new research,” the story says.
Pharmacy Guild figures provided to the Herald Sun show that patients are spending a collective almost $65 million a year presenting to GPs who then tell them to take paracetamol or ibuprofen – and more than $300 million more for quick GP appointments for “routine matters” such as absence from work certificates, repeat scripts or cough medicine.
Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis told Ms Squires that pharmacists could help patients avoid paying costs to see GPs, as well as helping GPs manage their workload, by relieving pressure.
“Making greater use of pharmacists in the healthcare system would mean families don’t need to pay for a doctors’ appointment every time they need repeat prescriptions, treatment for a common ailment, or a vaccination and would ease pressure on already overworked GPs to spend more time with their patients, treating serious issues,” Mr Tambassis said.
However, AMA national president Dr Tony Bartone countered by saying that if pharmacists want to be doctors, they should earn medical qualifications.
“I don’t think busy, dedicated community pharmacists… would agree with the Guild’s push for pharmacists to take over the work of doctors,” he said.
“The collaborative relationship between local GPs and pharmacists works well, and should not be eroded.”
The Guild—and Mr Tambassis himself—also came in for criticism from doctors on social media about the suggestion that pharmacists could do more to help; more pharmacists also weighed in to suggest that the AMA was not furthering a harmonious relationship between the two professions.
So the 25 articles in the last 2 years from @ama_media directed against pharmacy has nothing to do with the adversary?
Neither side can take the moral highground here.
— Samuel Keitaanpaa (@SKeitaanpaa) October 6, 2019
You’re misconstruing advocacy for best utilisation of pharmacists as “attacks on GPs”.
If our regulatory board (Pharmacy Board) deems something to be within our scope and as a profession we exercise that, it isn’t an “attack on GPs” it’s fully utilising training and expertise
— Anthony Tassone (@A_Tass1) October 6, 2019
.@AMA_WAPresident you haven’t spent much time in rural NSW have you? Triaging the walking wounded to see if 6 hours spent in a&e is worth the time/stress investment because access to local GP not possible is a many-times-daily event. Scope of practice? Absolutely.
— Andrew Topp 🍑 (@toppy999) October 7, 2019