Lack of funds and training is frustrating PSA’s NSW branch president Stephen Carter as they slow the rollout of Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs system (eRRCD).
Carter told the AJP that this is a key issue for the PSA, and spelt out further in the PSA’s latest election proposals’ manifesto, where the Branch is requesting more funds for training pharmacists.
“Pharmacists have a long tradition in working in the area of harm minimisation,” Carter explains.
“PSA is very frustrated at the rate at which the state government is committing funds for electronic recording and dispensing, an important tool to help reduce misuse of medicines.
“Community pharmacies are going to face a whole new level of administrative work, but not only that, pharmacists will be facing a whole range of behaviour management strategies in order to manage clients who are going to be found out to be misusing opioids and other controlled drugs.”
For instance, Project Stop does not translate well into many community pharmacies as the information is not well integrated into the dispensing process, he says.
“So people have to do two tasks: record the transaction in Project Stop and then dispense the medication.
“I get worked up about the fact that our clients are missing out on the mid-spread dissemination of information in this age of electronic media. We are so far behind it’s embarrassing, almost.
“Pharmacists really need a bit of support for that now.”
Carter says the Federal Government has purchased the system that integrates with all the dispensing software and has provided it to each state at no charge – but NSW Health has yet to roll out the system.
“Victoria and Queensland has already got this rolled out, and it’s very embarrassing at this stage for NSW to be so far behind,” Carter says.
“All they tell us as that funds have been committed to it, but they don’t give us any time for the availability of the service. They talk about the effort they are putting into it but not the outcome when we should expect it to be available.
“Our manifesto is asking for more funds for training of pharmacists. And as that occurs pharmacists need training that will make it easier for customers and staff for the challenging conversations they will need to have,” he says.
With a co-investment of $25,000 by PSA in the training and familiarisation program to be coordinated with the rollout of the eRRCD system across NSW, PSA estimates total required investment by NSW Health of $96,000 over five years.
PSA also proposes the introduction of Community Liaison Pharmacists attached to all NSW public hospitals with an emergency department, to refine pharmaceutical care plans for high risk patients, strengthen the continuum of care between hospital and the community, and reduce medication-related misadventure and readmission.
“One of the delays in getting continuity of care between hospitals and HMRs is that we are waiting for GPs to refer for HMRs and consequent lag time. We really need this speeded up.
“We also don’t need MMRs and HMRs capped in any way as this spells a poor message for our profession,” says Carter.
The PSA estimates a net saving to the NSW health system of $12m over five years if a 2.4% reduction in readmission rates in high risk patients is achieved.