Integrating GP pharmacists


The PSA has announced it is delivering two new two-year projects integrating pharmacists into general practice and aged care to address healthcare in regional South Australia

PSA President of South Australia/Northern Territory Branch, Robyn Johns, said that in South Australia around 48 people every day or about 17,500 people a year are admitted to hospital due to a medication-related problem at a cost of around $98 million annually.

PSA’s Medicine Safety report highlighted Australian research which uncovered that 81% of aged care residents had been exposed to at least one inappropriate medicine.1 The study of 533 people living in residential aged care was conducted across facilities in four states, including South Australia.

“The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and Country SA PHN are working together to address this need through two projects integrating pharmacists into regional general practices and residential aged care facilities,” she said.

“Integrating pharmacists into residential aged care is the first project of its kind in regional South Australia.

“It will focus on ensuring quality use of medicines achieves better outcomes for aged care residents by reducing the use of high-risk medications, providing education and training to facility staff in the quality use of medicines and supporting facility staff to provide more effective medication delivery.

“The pharmacists will also undertake medication reviews for residents and support better transition into residential aged care for residents entering care from the community and/or hospital and for those returning to residential care from hospital.”

Integrating pharmacists into regional general practices commenced in 2018 and will continue and expand. 

Initial work has found that pharmacists have been able to successfully take part in many different types of activities including patient consultations, medication reconciliation and reviews, preventative health education, prescribing audits, MBS billing contribution, preventative healthcare, medicine information, and staff education.

“Importantly, pharmacists also demonstrated flexibility within their scope of practice in order to deliver value to general practices in ways that were not anticipated in the initial project scoping and which will be explored further through this expansion,” Ms Johns said.

The PSA invited pharmacists interested in working more closely with general practice or in aged care to register for a workshop at the PSA SA Office on 23 November 2019. Inquiries should be directed to Helen Stone on 08 8272 1211 or at helen.stone@psa.org.au .

1. Harrison S, Kouladjian O’Donnell L, Milte R, et al. Costs of potentially inappropriate medication use in residential aged care facilities. BMC Geriatrics. 2018;18:9.

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