Ahead of the Queensland election, new data shows that almost three-quarters of adults support community pharmacies delivering more primary healthcare services
The new survey of registered voters across four marginal Queensland seats – Aspley, Gaven, Whitsunday and Barron River – included more than 400 voters from each seat and was conducted in mid-October by Insightfully via telephone.
The Pharmacy Guild’s Queensland Branch says the results confirm that Queenslanders want community pharmacies to do more to support them and their families.
“We know community pharmacists are prevented from practising to their full scope of clinical training; this needs to change,” said branch president Trent Twomey.
“These results further prove that Queenslanders are crying out for more and better services.
“We are determined to deliver for Queenslanders and their families,” he said.
This result proved to be the case across all age groups and genders, the Guild says.
The highest level of support was 82% in both the 35-50 and 51-65 age groups in the Whitsunday electorate.
“The ALP, LNP and the minor political parties recognise the importance and need for community pharmacists to do more in the provision of primary healthcare,” Trent Twomey said.
“The Guild welcomes their commitments to the people of Queensland during this election.
“Simply put, a community pharmacist practising to their full scope means better patient outcomes, patients don’t go without necessary heath care, less avoidable hospital admissions, and access to primary services are increased across Queensland.
“Full scope community pharmacists are a big win for patients. Queenslanders know this and it’s reflected in these survey results.”
He said the new data supports an emergency department report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in July 2020.
The AIHW report recommended that community pharmacists and other primary healthcare professionals be mobilised to appropriately manage a large percentage of potentially preventable emergency patient presentations at already overcrowded Queensland public hospitals.
Trent Twomey said that as accessible, trusted, and highly trained professionals, community pharmacists pharmacists can do even more to support patients and the healthcare system.
“With just under half (47%) of all lower urgency emergency department presentations occurring during a period when general practices are usually closed—patients can visit community pharmacists for primary healthcare,” he said.
“Many are open on Sundays, public holidays, and offer late night services after 8pm.
“We have seen first-hand the importance of community pharmacy this year with consumers relying heavily on their trusted community pharmacy for healthcare advice and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Community pharmacists are Australia’s most accessible health professionals, helping Australians with more than 458 million individual patient visits annually.
“They provide important primary healthcare advice and public health services. It’s clear that patients want community pharmacists to work to their full scope of professional expertise and deliver more primary healthcare services to Queenslanders.
“This year alone Queensland community pharmacies have been involved in enhanced home delivery services, vaccination administration, medication substitution and continued dispensing arrangements, which demonstrates our ability to offer a wide array of primary healthcare solutions to the public.”