More GPs to integrate a pharmacist

pharmacist doing consultation mother baby

How will the workdays of four new non-dispensing pharmacists look?

South Eastern NSW PHN has announced Commonwealth funding to support four general practices in the region to integrate a non-dispensing pharmacist as part of their care teams, with the aim of providing medication-related advice to patients.

Dianne Kitcher, CEO of South Eastern NSW PHN, said this funding is an extension of the Patient Centred Medical Home (PCMH) innovation project, which saw a consultant pharmacist successfully integrated within a general practice during a trial in 2018.

“All local health care providers were invited to submit an expression of interest to participate in this round of funding, and we congratulate the four successful applicants,” said Ms Kitcher.

Main Street Medical Centre will engage a pharmacist one day per week to work with doctors to identify patients with multiple, unnecessary or dated medications.

The pharmacist will also support the medication of patients discharged from hospital and will review patients prescribed controlled drugs, including consideration of alternative medicines.

Queanbeyan GP Super Clinic will work with a pharmacist on projects to improve the way patients manage their medications. The practice will focus on patients who have recently been discharged from hospital in an attempt to avoid readmission due to medication issues.

They will also work with patients who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and older patients on their medicine compliance, with the aim of improving their health outcomes.

Queen Street Medical Centre will engage a pharmacist to work closely with their doctors across their medical practices in Moruya and Broulee. They will hold ‘Better medicines’ clinics with their patients to improve their use of medicines, with a particular focus on patients who are already relying on clinics to support their conditions.

The pharmacist will also train the doctors and nursing staff on the quality use of medicines as well as supporting hospital discharge summaries.

Finally, they will work closely with residential aged care facilities in the area to identify and prevent a range of medication-related problems, ultimately translating into improved health outcomes and reduced hospitalisations.

Woonona Medical Practice will engage a pharmacist to work with doctors to assist in the management of medication for their adult patients.

Patients will benefit by having an improved understanding of the medicines they are taking, why they are taking them, and how best to take them, and doctors will benefit by gaining access to accurate and up-to-date information about their patients’ medications, including data about compliance and possible interactions.

Ms Kitcher said integrating pharmacists into the general practice setting will help strengthen their capacity to offer more comprehensive care.

“This investment also has the potential to result in significant savings to the health system,” she said.

Ms Kitcher added that the PHN will continue to support general practices not involved in this part of the project through various quality activities aimed at supporting vulnerable patients, reducing potentially preventable hospitalisations, improving population health, reducing health care costs and fostering greater satisfaction of health providers.

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government through the PHN Program.

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1 Comment

  1. Kevin Hayward

    No need to wait!
    It is great to see these projects taking place, I know from many years working as a practice support pharmacist the value of the work and the personal satisfaction of meeting these professional challenges.
    It is now nearly two years since I returned to full time working as a practice support pharmacist , there is no specific funding stream supporting my work in my locality, I have relied on my extended skills in providing value added services to my community.
    The good news is that I am gainfully employed, fully occupied, and my earnings over the two year period are compatible with the two years prior to this, when I was working in education.
    I conclude that if you want to be a practice pharmacist, go out get the relevant formal skills and make use of the existing financial opportunities to sustain yourself, there is no need to wait!

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