There’s been a significant rise in patient visits to community pharmacy – another argument for practicing to full scope, says Trent Twomey
The Pharmacy Guild has pointed out a rise of 9 million individual patient visits a year to community pharmacies: up from 440 million to 449 million, according to data from the Guild and ABS.1
This compares with 2018 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing there are 381,000 visits to a general practitioner daily which equates to an average of just under 140 million visits a year.
Acting National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey says the figures reflect the public’s trust in community pharmacies, and their recognition of the importance of the increasing range of services provided by their pharmacies.
“The figures also show that on average, every person visits a community pharmacy 18 times each year in metropolitan, rural and remote locations,” he said.
“The accessibility of these pharmacies, which are often open after hours and on weekends, means patients can see a healthcare professional when GP clinics may be closed.
“It also reflects the growing range of professional services available through community pharmacies and the community’s whole-hearted acceptance of getting these services from their trusted community pharmacy.”
He says the importance of community pharmacies will continue to grow as they increasingly were able to operate within their full scope of practice.
“The huge success of the community being able to access vaccinations through their community pharmacy highlights the people of Australia want to be able to visit their pharmacy for an increasing range of services.
“Having pharmacists work to their full scope of practice is a win-win for the community and the broader health sector.”
He says patients already were benefitting from pharmacists providing more services under their scope of practice, including vaccinations, medicine reviews, and a wide range of health screening services.
“There is so much more that we can, and, should be doing to help patients. Full-scope pharmacist services could involve a form of controlled pharmacist supply that would allow access of patients to ongoing treatment of medicines for management of chronic disease or treatment of an acute infection under a validated protocol,” he says.
1. PBS Date of Supply, Guild Digest, unpublished Guild data set, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3101.0