The Australian Government should follow the UK and provide funding support for integrating pharmacists into general practice clinics, according to the PSA.
The British Department of Health – through NHS England – has announced a £112 million ($A211m) investment in new roles for pharmacists in general practice, which is expected to lead to an extra 1500 pharmacists in general practice over the next five years.
PSA National President Joe Demarte says the UK’s innovative pharmacist-GP model should be urgently considered with funding from the Federal Government as part of the 2016-17 Budget.
“There’s been an overwhelmingly positive response to having pharmacists in general practice clinics in the UK – and many other countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the USA now have pharmacists providing clinical services in general practice settings,” Demarte says.
“Australian pharmacists are highly-qualified health professionals however their skills, knowledge and expertise often go under-recognised and under-utilised.”
In its 2016-17 pre-Budget submission, PSA urged the Government to consider how existing health resources can be better coordinated and targeted within a collaborative primary healthcare model to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
“International experience shows pharmacists in a general practice setting not only improves patient health but can also strengthen links between local general practices and community pharmacies,” says Demarte.
“The model PSA supports will allow greater integration of pharmacists and community pharmacies within the primary healthcare setting to ensure alignment and coordination of services, including those funded through the 6CPA.
“This model is good for patients, good for pharmacies and good for general practices.”
Demarte says there are several examples and strong local evidence for pharmacists working with GPs across Australia to provide a wide range of services to both consumers and practice staff.
“Practice pharmacists assist with medication enquiries from patients and health professionals, conduct staff education, mentor new prescribers, participate in case conferences, liaise across health sectors and evaluate drug utilisation to ensure optimal therapy,” he says.
To read the PSA’s 2016-17 pre-Budget submission: visit www.psa.org.au/submissions/psa-pre-budget-submission-2016-17