The Australian Patients Association has created a new award to recognise the work of community pharmacists
The APA says that the increasingly important contribution of community pharmacists in helping improve patient health outcomes will be highlighted at its third annual National Patients Awards for Excellence in July this year.
APA Chief Executive Stephen Mason said feedback from its members and supporters had led to the creation of the new award to recognise the role community pharmacists play in educating patients about medication use, providing basic health checks and ensuring patient continuity of care, especially for the elderly and chronically ill.
“Over the past twelve months, calls to our feedback line and surveys undertaken with our members and supporters has indicated a greater day to day role being played by community pharmacists in providing timely and cost-effective health advice,” Mr Mason said.
“The role of the community pharmacist has become increasingly important in an age where patients are time poor and health costs are increasing.
“Many patients tell us they like the convenience of being able to drop into their local pharmacy and get basic health advice and would like to see a greater role for pharmacists in providing basic health checks such as immunisations, blood pressure monitoring and advice.”
The APA says it has recognised that a broadening of services that community pharmacists provide not only would suit many patients who are time poor, it would also take pressure off over worked GPs and potentially save the health system millions of dollars a year given many visits to GPs are for often basic health checks or repeat prescriptions for medications.
As a result, the APA Board decided it was important to highlight and recognise pharmacists that are providing a benchmark of care and service that patients and the community expect.
“This new award hopes to recognise that benchmark,” Mr Mason said.
“It is clear from feedback from patients that many avoid going to the doctor for basic but necessary health care checks or to have a repeat course of medication prescribed, often due to the cost or inconvenience of having to make an appointment then wait as busy GPs treat more urgent and time-consuming patient cases.
“The community pharmacist is playing an increasingly important role in patient health care.
“Having the local community pharmacist more actively involved in patient care is a win-win for patients who can have basic health checks and prescription repeats filled at the same time they are out doing their shopping.
“It will save time for the patient, save money for the taxpayer funded health system from less GP and hospital visits and improve patient health outcomes with any urgent health issues being referred to a GP by the pharmacist.”
Pharmacy Guild National President, George Tambassis, welcomed the inclusion of the Most Outstanding Community Pharmacist award and said it was important that community pharmacists are recognised for the service they provide to patients beyond filling scripts and selling health care and retail products.
“At a time when the traditional role of community pharmacy is under threat from retail and online models, we are keen for patients and the community to understand the important role and level of service and advice provided by community pharmacists that are members of Pharmacy Guild of Australia,” Mr Tambassis said.
“The Pharmacy Guild is delighted to sponsor this new award and encourages patients and the community to vote for the community pharmacist they recognise as providing a level of service and care that epitomises their role in helping improve patient health outcomes.”
Voting for the APA awards can be undertaken via the link here https://www.patients.org.au/about-us/register-to-vote/