GP role is within current pharmacist scope of practice: PSA


Schedule 3 - pharmacist holding out pill bottles

The PSA has stressed that its model for pharmacists to be integrated into GP clinics incorporates roles that are within the pharmacist’s current scope of practice.

Acting national president of the PSA, Michelle Lynch, was responding to reports of a position statement issued by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia in which the organisation says the role of pharmacist prescriber would strengthen the link between general practice and the local community pharmacy as well as improving patient access.

“The model we have proposed does not incorporate the role of a pharmacist prescriber,” Lynch says.

“PSA has been in discussions with GP groups, consumers and the Federal Government and these discussions did not include a pharmacist prescriber role as this is currently outside the scope of pharmacists’ practice.”

“While some international models for pharmacists in general practice do include pharmacist prescribing, it is important to acknowledge the different economic, policy and workforce issues in these settings.

“PSA supports Health Workforce Australia‘s work on health professional prescribing and is not seeking to introduce pharmacist prescribing with the implementation of a model for pharmacists in general practice.

“There are many important quality use of medicine activities that a pharmacist may undertake within the general practice setting which do not require the pharmacist to be a prescriber.

“A pharmacist working within this environment needs to value-add, filling current gaps in the provision of pharmaceutical care.”

Lynch says there is strong evidence to support PSA’s flexible model of pharmacists working in GP clinics over and above other proposals.

“There is strong evidence supporting the value of PSA’s model and it is important to note it does not exclude local pharmacists currently working in community pharmacies from participating in the evidence based model – in fact we hope this will occur,” she says.

“I also need to stress that PSA wants to see new funding for this intervention so that it doesn’t reduce community pharmacy access to existing funding, as we believe that access to 6CPA services and funds should be ultimately prohibited within the practice protocol for the model.

“In addition, the pharmacist working in the clinic and the GP should have protocols to ensure that they work closely with local community pharmacies.

“The pharmacist’s role will be autonomous within the surgery – they will work as colleagues with the GPs.”

Lynch says the practice protocol would need to ensure that patients could not be directed or channelled into specific pharmacies

“We need a large-scale effectiveness/implementation trial to further progress the model, ideally through a new Budget allocation,” she says.

“PSA is committed to working with all stakeholders, including the Pharmacy Guild, to progress this model.”

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