Patients ‘lured’ into pharmacy services: AMA chief


tug of war

AMA national president Dr Tony Bartone has again criticised pharmacy services such as vaccination, calling for more research into scope

Commenting during AMA Family Doctor Week on Friday about the AIHW’s recent report into coordination of health care, Dr Bartone said more research was needed into the impact of other health professionals “encroaching” on the scope of practice of family doctors.

“We are increasingly seeing efforts by pharmacies, for example, to provide ‘health checks’ and prescribe medicines in pharmacies – often with the support of governments looking to make budget savings,” Dr Bartone said.

“These moves will only fragment the care that Australians receive and sacrifice quality care under the guise of convenience and accessibility.

“The recently-launched Bupa-Terry White Chemist deal, which is asking Bupa members to pay for health checks at the pharmacy, is one example that flies in the face of all the available evidence, which supports better health outcomes when patients partner with their usual GP.

“Every time a patient is lured into a ‘health check’, vaccination, or other medical-related service provided in a pharmacy, it is a missed opportunity for the provision of quality health care from a family doctor.

“Continuity of care and sharing of information is all-important. GPs identify emerging risk factors, provide preventive advice, and check on patients’ holistic wellbeing.”

Coordination of health care – experiences with GP care among patients aged 45 and over 2016 was released by the AIHW in early July 2019.

It found that patients without a usual GP are more likely to experience a lack of information sharing between their health providers.

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