Non-dispensing pharmacist pilot extended

Image: Katja Boom (right), Pharmacist at YourGP@Crace in the ACT, educates a patient about asthma management. Courtesy Roz Lemon

A pilot program aimed at examining the benefits of pharmacists in GP practices has been extended following initial success

Capital Health Network, through the ACT PHN program, places non-dispensing pharmacists in three local general practices. 

CHN Chief Executive Gaylene Coulton says that the initial findings from the pilot have been promising.

“Following the success of the first year of this innovative pilot, CHN has extended the pilot for another 12 months,” she says.

“We’ve already seen a number of benefits from having an in-house pharmacist based within a general practice. For example, this can improve the communication between the practice and the patient’s usual community pharmacist.”

The three practices participating in the program are Isabella Plains Medical Centre, National Health Co-op and YourGP@Crace.

Katja Boom, pharmacist at YourGP@Crace, says the pilot has enhanced collaboration between Pharmacists, GPs and other health care workers, thus improving health care for patients through improved quality of prescribing, and better management and prevention of chronic disease.

“Together with the nurse and GP, I am part of the healthcare assessment undertaken for patients aged over 75,” says Ms Boom.

“I review their medication, adjust the medication list, give the patient a medication list print out, provide education to the patient about their medication and recommend changes to medication regimen where necessary to reduce medication load.”

Dr Joe Oguns, Medical Director at the National Health Co-op says the pilot has enabled increased access between non-dispensing pharmacists and GPs which has been helpful in optimising prescribing, patient adherence to their medications and improved health outcomes.

“Having a pharmacist in general practice has resulted in de-prescribing of medications which are not essential to patients’ current health needs which reduces pill burden and improves compliance with important medications,” Dr Oguns says.

“It has also been beneficial in identifying and avoiding potentially significant medication related adverse events.”

An external evaluation is being conducted by the University of Canberra.

Capital Health Network is the ACT’s primary health network supporting health professionals to improve the coordination of care so that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

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