Guild accused of being ‘very secretive’

A leading doctor has cited recent data showing significant vaccine underreporting in an attack on a pharmacy antibiotics trial

Chair of RACGP Queensland Dr Bruce Willett spoke to RACGP publication newsGP saying that pharmacist prescribing for UTIs “won’t work as the Pharmacy Guild is claiming”.

The Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot – Queensland (UTIPP-Q) trial went live earlier this month, following the release of the Drug Therapy Protocol for participating pharmacists.

But Dr Willett said that a National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance report published earlier this month undermines the credibility of the UTI trial.

This report showed that between 2016 and 2019, there were 576,780 pharmacist vaccinations recorded with the Australian Immunisation Register.

Data from the AIR and stakeholder interviews for the study suggested that there had been “substantial” underreporting of pharmacist vaccinations to AIR, with more vaccines reported by three pharmacy banner groups in 2019 than were recorded on the AIR by all pharmacy providers that year.

“Of the pharmacies that are registered with jurisdictions as offering vaccination services, the data from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 indicate that only half are supplying valid vaccination data to AIR,” the report concluded.

At the time the data was released, Pharmacy Guild Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone said that the report also highlighted gaps in recording done by other immunisers, and that the Guild “fully supports the use of AIR and recommends community pharmacies record the vaccination services they deliver for patients”.

Now, Dr Willett has used this data to question the UTIPP-Q trial.

“If they can’t get the proper recording of vaccinations right, how can we trust that there will be proper administration of antibiotics?” he said.
“This clearly indicates the difference between what the Guild promises and what happens in real life. What occurs in the trial is likely to be very different to what happens when pharmacy prescribing is in the wild.”

Dr Willett said the GPs are concerned that the trial means antibiotics will be more available.

He also said they want training resources for participating pharmacists to be made public.

“We remain concerned that the Guild are not publishing what’s occurring in the training – they’re remaining very secretive about that,” he said.
“That should be in the public domain.”

Dr Willett’s comments follow those earlier this week from AMA Queensland president Dr Chris Perry, who said that pharmacist prescribing for UTIs constitutes a “role substitution” which the organisation is now repudiating.

“Queenslanders are being sold this new style of patient care under the guise of choice and convenience, but it’s simply a bargain basement version of health care,” he said, calling on doctors to complete a survey about the current state of the health system.

Pharmacy Guild Queensland branch president Trent Twomey reacted to Dr Perry’s comments by encouraging doctors to reject such “scare campaigns” and work with pharmacists instead.


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