Support non-dispensing pharmacists in health teams: AMA

handshake: Medicines australia/Govt letter of agreement

The AMA has renewed its call for the Federal Government to support the AMA proposal to integrate non-dispensing pharmacists into GP-led primary health care teams.

As part of AMA Family Doctor Week 2015, the AMA has produced a video outlining the benefits to patients and the health system by broadening the GP-led primary health team to include non-dispensing pharmacists, who can provide expert advice on the best and most effective use of medicines.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today the Pharmacist in General Practice Incentive Program would create greater efficiencies for practices, better care for patients, new career opportunities for pharmacists, and significant Budget savings across the whole health system.

“This is a great opportunity for the Federal Government to realise its quest for savings and value without harming the health sector or compromising patient care,” Prof Owler says.

“Under the AMA plan, pharmacists within general practice can assist with things such as medication management, providing patient education on their medications, and supporting GP prescribing with advice on medication interactions and newly available medications.”

The proposal is backed by an independent analysis from Deloitte Access Economics, which shows that the AMA proposal would deliver $1.56 in savings for every dollar invested in it.

The Deloitte Access Economics analysis shows that if 3100 general practices took up the PGPIP, substantial savings to the health system would include:

  • a saving of $1.266 billion due to fewer hospital admissions related to the use of medications;
  • PBS savings of $180.6 million because of better use of medications and improved compliance;
  • patient savings of $49.8 million from reduced co-payments for medical consultations and medicines; and
  • MBS savings of $18.1 million from fewer GP attendances due to adverse reactions to drugs.

The AMA has developed this model in consultation with the PSA, which has given it its full backing. Other key GP organisations have also given their support to the concept.

In the United Kingdom, NHS England has just launched a £15m scheme to fund, recruit and employ clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries.

UK pharmacy publication Chemist + Druggist is reporting that GPs who participated in its Twitter debate indicated support for the program, saying it would free up their time and provide “a better service to patients”.

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