PSA is urging Victoria’s returned Labor Government to consider improving Victorians’ access to healthcare by better utilising pharmacists across the state
The Andrews Labor Government was returned in a landslide victory over the weekend.
PSA Victorian President Benjamin Marchant says that pharmacists are often Victorians’ first port of call for healthcare, but their skills are not being put to full use.
“PSA welcomes the election of the Labor Party and urges them to take full advantage of the pharmacist workforce by providing seed funding for a pilot of the shared care model, and removal of patient pharmacy copayment for Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) services in Victoria,” he says.
MATOD services combat licit and illicit drug abuse and misuse with two key components: prescribing doctors or nurse practitioners, and pharmacists who dispense the medications and monitor treatment progress on a daily basis.
Mr Marchant says drug abuse is putting existing MATOD services under immense pressure and causing great concern in the community.
“We don’t have enough MATOD prescribers to meet the increasing demand. That’s why PSA is calling for a more sustainable model that provides patients with more options and more holistic care,” he says.
PSA also hopes the Government will remove a key barrier for accessing MATOD services by fully funding MATOD dispensing and management fees for patients.
“Evidence shows funding for MATOD would enhance compliance, minimise stigma and encourage more pharmacists to offer the service,” says Mr Marchant.
He says that PSA is also urging the Government to allow the public to access the full range of National Immunisation Program vaccines through pharmacists.
Independent research commissioned by PSA has shown almost two-in-three Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer a broader range of vaccinations.
“Pharmacists can give the public better access to vaccinations, increasing the population’s overall immunity.”
PSA also believes it is essential for the Government to appoint a Chief Pharmacist in Victoria to make better use of pharmacist resources and provide a crucial link between regulation, programs, funding and infrastructure.
“Pharmacists are a critical part of the Victorian health system and now is the time to commit to new reforms to help them support a healthier Victoria,” Mr Marchant says.
Some Victorian electoral promises had sparked a discussion among AJP readers, particularly Liberal Opposition Leader Matthew Guy’s pledge to shut down Richmond’s new supervised injecting facility.