New tranche of pharmacy trials


doctor shaking hands

The announcement of additional projects under the Pharmacy Trial Program has been welcomed by pharmacy groups

The trials announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt at PSA17 are in areas of genuine patient need, and have the potential to add value to the Australian health care system, says the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

The new trials announced are:

A Pharmacy Asthma Service – targeting patients with poorly controlled asthma aiming to address fundamental issues associated with medication use. The trial is being led by the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, with the Pharmacy Guild as one of a number of collaborative partners. Community pharmacy has an important role to play in asthma care as pharmacists have an understanding of evidence-based medication, and are the most accessible health care professionals seen by patients with asthma.

Pharmacists in Aboriginal Health Services – This trial will see a pharmacist working directly as part of a primary care team within an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, to overcome barriers that patients may face in accessing medicines. This trial aims to improve patients’ understanding of their medication management needs and will utilise existing relationships with community pharmacies to improve patients’ access to 6CPA programs. The Pharmacy Guild will participate in the advisory group overseeing this trial.

“The Guild is committed to working with government and the trial partners so that these trials deliver the maximum benefit to patients, in accord with the terms of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA),” says Guild National President George Tambassis.

PSA and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have also welcomed the announcement of a trial to support Aboriginal health organisations to integrate pharmacists into their services.

Both organisations celebrated the Federal Government’s initiative to implement these important reforms, and to further investigate the development of new funding models to help close the gap between the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner says disparities in the health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are confronting.

“For too long Aboriginal people have suffered shorter lifespans, been sicker and poorer than the average non-Indigenous Australian, however, highly trained pharmacists have a proven track record in delivering improved health outcomes when integrated into multidisciplinary practices,” she says.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said having a culturally responsive pharmacist integrated within an Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) builds better relationships between patients and staff, leading to improved results in chronic disease management and Quality Use of Medicines.

“Integrating a non-dispensing pharmacist in an AHS has the potential to improve medication adherence, reduce chronic disease, reduce medication misadventure and decrease preventable medication-related hospital admissions to deliver significant savings to the health system,” Dr Jackson says.

The Guild says it is pleased that the already announced Pharmacy Trial Program Indigenous Medicines Review Service will also be commencing shortly. This projects aims to improve medication management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through pharmacist advice and culturally appropriate services.

The project has been designed to enable a strong and lasting relationship to develop between Aboriginal Community controlled Health Services (ACCHOs) and community pharmacies.

The 6CPA $50 million Pharmacy Trial, funded by the Federal Government, was established to trial new and expanded programs that seek to improve clinical outcomes for consumers and/or extend the role of pharmacists in the delivery of primary healthcare services through community pharmacy.

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