Pharmacists, critic butt heads over readmissions

It started when the Pharmacy Guild tweeted its welcome to the focus on avoidable hospital readmissions in Friday’s COAG communique, which identified that too many patients are readmitted following complications arising from the management of their original condition.

The Guild states that community pharmacy can play a key role in reducing the 230,000 hospital admissions each year due to medicine related causes.

But the RACGP’s Evan Ackermann responded, tweeting also to the College and to Health Minister Sussan Ley that if only pharmacists are included in this care, re-admissions increase.


It didn’t go down well. John Cook pointed out that international data and common sense supported collaborative programs, while Shane Jackson pointed to existing data on HMRs.

The Guild’s Anthony Tassone pointed out that medication management services including HMRs and MedsChecks are currently under review by the MSAC.

“Dr Ackermann’s entitled to his opinion, but there’s increasing evidence of avoidable admissions and readmissions to hospital due to medicines-related events,” Tassone later told the AJP.

“But the fact is that consumers visit their pharmacies sooner after being discharged from hospitals, and frequent their community pharmacies, more than any other health care destination in Australia.

“Along with all that, pharmacies are the most accessible health care destination in Australia so it makes complete sense that a medicines expert, at a critical point of care when a patient is transitioning to or from hospital, can help prevent these avoidable events.”

Previous Real-time system needed, but not 'silver bullet'
Next World news wrapup: 7 April 2016

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. Peter Crothers

    Is anyone seriously arguing that discharge planning is not a mess? Surely the point is that pharmacists and GPs share an interest in improving the way patients are transferred from hospital to community care an vice-versa and are therefore on the same side? It is bleeding obvious that in many occasions there is confusion all round and that the problems start play out in the pharmacy before the GP is even aware of the discharge or has gone home for the weekend or not otherwise in a position to contribute in a timely manner. This creates un-remunerated work for both pharmacists and GPs (and we all know how much we love that), not to mention poorer patient outcomes and wasting of THEIR time as well (we tend to discount the cost of that). That whole process is a medication management service. One key to making it work better – in my opinion – is keeping community pharmacies ‘in the loop’ when patients are sent home from hospitals.

  2. Richard Lord

    It is really head in the sand attitude from Ackerman!
    Of course there needs to be amulti-disciplinary approach at discharge involving allied healthcare workers to ensure that the patient recover at home and has followup appointments with specialist if necessary.
    But often the patient and their gp are not given a copy of Discharge summary in a timely fashion and pharmacist may be the only one aware of meds changes.
    Discharge Planning should start on the day of admission!

Leave a reply