Pharmacy trial slammed as ‘business model’

doctor wearing boxing glove

Another leading GP has slammed Queensland’s limited pharmacy prescribing trial, calling for a national approach

In mid-April, the Queensland Government announced a statewide trial whereby pharmacists would be able to provide short-term treatment for acute UTIs, as well as repeats for the oral contraceptive pill.

The move was soon slammed by the RACGP, Queensland branch of the AMA, the national president of the AMA, and other doctors.

Now, Chair of the RACGP Board and RACGP NSW and ACT Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe has told newsGP that the Queensland trial is “piecemeal”.

“Queensland is being the disruptor,” she said.

“There’s no problem with disruption in healthcare if it means a better system for our patients but, unfortunately, I don’t see that increasing the pharmacy scope of practice is in any way designed to improve patient care.
“It is a business model.”

She commended NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard for rejecting a similar trial in NSW.

“We’re happy that they’ve taken the advice of the RACGP to go down this path,” she told newsGP.
“We’ve been strongly advocating at all times that we don’t see it is in the best interests of patient care to divide the provision of primary healthcare services into pharmacy.
“I’m fully supportive of the role of pharmacy in primary care, and fully acknowledge the vital role pharmacists play in medication management and decreasing the significant number of preventable hospitalisations due to medication errors. But we need to strongly understand the need to stay in the scope of practice.”

Prescribing does not “fit” in pharmacy, she said, calling for support for pharmacists to work in GP practices.

“I am not anti-pharmacist. Let’s get pharmacists doing what it is in their scope of practice and get government to fund that, instead of argy-bargy over what is already done well.”

Professor Peter Carroll, president of the PSA’s NSW Branch, told the AJP at the time Mr Hazzard rejected the NSW proposal that it would be a patient-centric logical step which could significantly help women with acute UTIs while they wait to access a GP.

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