‘No patients should ever go without their medicine.’

The Guild has called on the Morrison Government to permanently implement continued dispensing

The Guild’s Queensland branch said in a statement on Wednesday that it congratulated the Federal and State Governments on their foresight in implementing changes, but that these needed to continue.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland Government made changes to the Drug Therapy Protocol that included adjustments to the Communicable Diseases and Pharmacist Vaccination Programs.

These adjustments provided greater scope for pharmacists to administer vaccinations and prescribe certain medicines to patients, if a prescriber was unavailable, the Guild highlighted.

In October 2020, the Federal Government extended the Continued Dispensing—Emergency Measures arrangements until 31 March 2021. This allowed for patients with chronic conditions to obtain their usual medicines at PBS prices.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch President, Professor Trent Twomey, said he had been hearing from community pharmacists that these changes have made a positive difference, particularly to those in regional areas who may not have access to a doctor close to home.

Making these arrangements permanent would provide greater access to critical health care services for those residents, he said.

“The proactive adjustments have eased medication demands on hospitals and general practices, especially in regional Queensland,” said Professor Twomey.

“However, with some of these services due to expire at the end of March, we need to move now to make these changes permanent and ensure Queenslanders can continue to have access to potentially life-saving medicines.

“Without local community pharmacists being able to support Queenslanders that live in rural and remote communities with access to their medicines through continued dispensing, many might go without.

“No patients should ever go without their medicine.

“We’re calling on the Federal Government to show their on-going commitment to Queenslanders and primary healthcare by permanently implementing continued dispensing.

“We need to continue to allow the 6,000 registered pharmacists located in Queensland across 1,200 community pharmacies to continue providing vital medicines to patients.”

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