After-hours help for customers is the focus of a new partnership between the Pharmacy Guild and the Western NSW Primary Health Network.
The two are piloting a program for upskilling pharmacy staff to ensure people are directed to the most appropriate care in the after-hours period, which is hoped to help decrease the after-hours burden on GPs and hospital emergency departments.
The pilot takes into account that community pharmacy is often the point of contact for people seeking after-hours help.
“This project aims to reduce unnecessary hospital ED attendance and the burden on general practice. The enhanced utilisation of the current rural pharmacy workforce will help to achieve better outcomes in patient care,” says Andrew Harvey, CEO of WNSW PHN.
The pilot project will include community pharmacies in Bathurst, Broken Hill, Orange, Dubbo, Forbes, Mudgee, Bourke and Oberon local government areas.
The Pharmacy Guild has invited up to 25 QCPP accredited pharmacies to participate.
The Guild is also promoting access to GuildCare, aimed at improving integration and coordination across primary health services in the WNSW PHN region.
“Given the changing landscape of primary healthcare service delivery, there is a need for pharmacies to focus on delivering efficient and innovative solutions to meet patient health needs,” says the Pharmacy Guild of Australia NSW Branch’s Mark Douglass.
“Approximately 50% of community pharmacies in the WNSW PHN region are operating into the after hours period.
“In addition, 43% of community pharmacies in the region have private consultation rooms.”
Investment in ongoing workforce development and in digital health solutions are key focus areas for the WNSW PHN and in partnership with the Pharmacy Guild, after hours care will be significantly enhanced, to the benefit of primary health providers and individual patients.
Funding for the Pharmacy Guild support project is provided by WNSW PHN through the After Hours Innovation Grant (Round Two).