Pharmacists underutilised in Health Care Homes: di Natale

di natale

HCH trial risks failing to capture the full skills and knowledge of Australia’s pharmacists, Senator Richard di Natale told Guild Parliamentary Dinner

At the dinner held in Canberra this week, the Greens leader said this year’s federal election highlighted the “passion with which the Australian people hold the Australian universal health system”.

But he slammed the Health Care Homes trial as “underfunded” and likely to do more harm than good to efforts to manage chronic disease in the Australian community – for several reasons, including that it fails to make the best use of pharmacists.

For the trial to really work, it would need a more appropriate funding envelope; new bundled payments to incentivise continuous care and better health outcomes; a genuine plan to engage allied health professionals; “real engagement of the under-utilised skills of community pharmacists;” and more engagement with patients.

“The Health Care Home trial is one example where we risk failing to capture the full skills and knowledge of Australia’s highly trained pharmacists,” di Natale said.

“We know that pharmacists could be playing a critical role in the health care of Australians with chronic illnesses – given you have millions of face to face interactions with them in pharmacies every day.

“Community pharmacists are some of the most trusted members of our communities. And the broader community is calling out for pharmacies to provide greater service to patients and the Greens are strongly supportive of that.”

Di Natale also said that the Greens welcomed the King Review into pharmacy remuneration and regulation and called it “an opportunity to examine in great depth how the great work of community pharmacy is remunerated, and how best we ensure that Australian patients get the most out of their interactions with their local chemist.

“It also allows assessment of programs under the CPA, including how they can best serve the health of those who need it most like our Indigenous communities.”

He said that as well as in debates around reform in community pharmacy, the voice of pharmacists needs to be heard in “broader debates about primary care, private health insurance, of course PBS reforms”.

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