Many people don’t know the support and advice pharmacists provide behind the scenes, often without compensation
“One of our patients, who has a mental health issue, has a good relationship with our pharmacists,” Sydney pharmacist Nick Logan tells AJP.
“One morning he entered the pharmacy insisting that he was discontinuing his tablets immediately because he didn’t need them.
“We sat him down at our interactive ‘pod’ area, and took time to discuss his stability and quality of life when his medicine regimen is working.
“We also called an outreach team and organised for his case manager to meet him at home at midday to reinforce the message,” says Mr Logan.
“The whole process took about 20-30 mins. His trust for our pharmacists meant that he was committed to taking all his medicines by the time he left the pharmacy.”
Many pharmacists are providing crucial health advice and support that is oft-overlooked by sector commentators as well as within the current remuneration system.
Pharmacists can spend hours each day convincing people to stay on their medicines, providing counselling and other support for no additional remuneration.
The PSA has been advocating for properly remunerated pharmacist services in order support a service-focused pharmacy model, and it remains a core part of the organisation’s “10-Year Action Plan” for pharmacist services in Australia.
This plan includes tackling the “arbitrary” provider caps on HMRs and low sector wages, and building a better-utilised pharmacist workforce.
“There are pockets of emerging and evidence-based opportunities available for pharmacists; in terms of new career pathways, new roles and remuneration, innovation and value-adding professional services being led by PSA,” said PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson on announcing the plan.
“There is no quick fix to this – but I believe it must flow from new roles and new remuneration.”
He said the King Review offers an opportunity to “consider fundamental change to the way the pharmacy profession utilises its significant skills, training and expertise to improve the use of medicines in primary care”.
In its submission to the King Review, the PSA called for pharmacist services to be remunerated by the government through an MBS-style payment system, in order to meet consumers’ health needs.
“A more appropriate payment model for pharmacist services is one which recognises and remunerates pharmacists based on the complexity of the presenting consumer’s situation and/or services provided,” reads the submission.
“PSA advocates for a payment model which recognises and remunerates the pharmacist based on the complexity of the presenting consumer’s situation and/or service provided, rather than the complexity of the medicines supplied.”
“Remuneration for pharmacists should recognise the professional input of pharmacists along a professional services continuum from dispensing through the medication management and chronic disease monitoring based on the individual consumer,” it says.
AJP would love to hear from you about the services and support you provide to patients, often without remuneration within the current system. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.