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Work collaboratively to deliver better care for consumers, pharmacists say to GPs

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July 12, 2017

Having GPs and pharmacists working together on collaborative models of care is better for consumers and the health system as a whole, the peak body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said today.

Responding to comments made in Australian Doctor and Medical Observer highlighting missed opportunities for referrals to GPs by pharmacy staff, PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said the time for criticism is over. “What we need to be doing is working together to support evidence-based practices that improve the quality of care consumers receive.”

Acknowledging that the report documented some behaviours that fall short of the standards expected of the pharmacy profession, Dr Jackson said that there is a need for practice support to enable pharmacists to have the majority of these consultations, and better training for pharmacy staff as a whole.

“While the majority do this well, PSA is working hard to support the profession through a range of resources to improve these practices, and has urged the Government to allocate funding to develop quality indicators for pharmacist practice,” Dr Jackson said.

“We should also note, however, that this kind of challenge is not limited to pharmacists. Just this week we had reports of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by GPs – at up to nine times the recommended rates – contributing to the problem of antimicrobial resistance and even deaths. The response from GP groups was to encourage better education and protocols. Pharmacists are supportive of this and expect the same in response from our GP colleagues where the need for improvement is identified.”

Dr Jackson said there are many positive outcomes for Australia by optimising the role of pharmacists, especially within collaborative healthcare frameworks.

“Internationally, we see GPs and pharmacists working together to build shared protocols and improved communication pathways, with evidence this improves outcomes for consumers, particularly those with chronic diseases. With all the reform happening in primary care at the moment, let’s not miss the opportunity to realise these benefits in Australia,” Dr Jackson said.

Australia’s 5,500 community pharmacies are visited by approximately 300 million consumers each year. Building on successful models of care in the UK, Canada and Europe, PSA has sought to develop protocols for a more structured triage, referral and minor ailments service – in collaboration with GPs and consumers.

“Australians will continue to seek health advice from pharmacists, given their expertise and the great accessibility that community pharmacies provide as a key part of our primary care infrastructure,” Dr Jackson said.

“At PSA, our door continues to be open to RACGP and other GP groups to develop collaborative protocols that avoid the type of problems highlighted today, and deliver cost-effective health outcomes to consumers.”

-ENDS-

Media contact: Andrew Daniels
Communications Manager
0487 922 175

This item is listed in the following categories: • 2017 media releasesMedia releases


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