Timely recognition

SHPA applauds Queensland parliamentary committee recommendation that pharmacists be allowed to perform low-risk prescribing

The SHPA Qld Branch has welcomed the findings of the Queensland Parliament’s Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee in its report on the Inquiry into the establishment of a pharmacy council and transfer of pharmacy ownership in Queensland.

In its report released last Tuesday, the parliamentary committee recommended pharmacists be allowed to perform low-risk prescribing, such as providing repeats of the oral contraceptive pill and low-risk vaccinations.

The committee noted that “any change in scope of practice utilisation should be underpinned by appropriate credentialing and training for the services being delivered”.

While it heard a number of concerns during the inquiry, particularly from medical practitioners and medical associations, the committee felt that with sufficient safeguards and appropriate additional training these concerns should be allayed.

“Many of the issues raised by medical practitioners and medical associations could be addressed by shared or collaborative prescribing model,” it found.

The committee also cited the example of the successful community pharmacist vaccination program in Queensland to highlight that there are “significant” potential community health benefits from “extending the scope of practice of pharmacists further”.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says the consensus is timely acknowledgement of pharmacists’ valuable medicines expertise.

“In-step with our Queensland Branch and 5,000 members nationwide, SHPA welcomes the recognition that pharmacists represent an underutilised pillar in Australian healthcare, uniquely positioned to contribute to high quality care within their practice scope,” she says.

“It is with this optimising of practice in mind that SHPA continues to implement and support rigorous frameworks against which pharmacists can evaluate and improve their practice.”

SHPA also welcomed the parliamentary committee support for the establishment of a Pharmacy Advisory Council in Queensland.

The Pharmacy Advisory Council would provide advice on pharmacy issues to government, including expert advice on ownership and pharmacy premises to the department.

It would also would enhance the department’s capacity to proactively monitor and enforce the state’s pharmacy regulatory environment.

Ms Michaels says the recommendation is strongly in the interests of optimal patient care.

“Our Qld Branch supports a Pharmacy Advisory Council in Queensland as we believe it will facilitate higher quality of pharmacy care to the community, while complementing services delivered by hospital pharmacy,” says Ms Michaels.

“It is great to see this position backed by other pharmacy organisations through this consultation and we welcome this recommendation in this report.”

The report also supports the review of pharmacy assistant (technician) training, an initiative strongly
backed by the SHPA Qld Branch and SHPA nationally.

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