Medication safety must be key focus after 2018–19 MYEFO
While healthcare investment in the 2018–19 MYEFO will improve access to medicines for many Australians, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is concerned that pharmacists, as part of the broader healthcare team, need to be included as an integral component of future investment in the healthcare system.
PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said pharmacists and pharmacies were pillars of the health system and Australia had significant opportunities to make full use of their expertise.
“The government’s commitment to making changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) will benefit patients including people with severe eating disorders and those in rural and remote areas,” he said.
“We welcome these important changes to the MBS. However, pharmacists continue to be the only AHPRA registered allied health professionals not eligible to provide allied health services through Chronic Disease Management (CDM) items on the MBS.
“Medicines play a major role in the care and treatment of patients with chronic disease, so excluding pharmacists from the MBS for these CDM items makes no sense.
“PSA calls for pharmacists to be granted MBS access as part of Team Care Arrangements within CDM items to help improve health outcomes for patients.”
PSA welcomed the government’s extension of the Health Care Homes Trial for patients with chronic and complex conditions until 30 June 2021.
“As an integral element of the Health Care Homes Trial, community pharmacy is enabling people to get the most out of their medicines. However, barriers to pharmacist involvement still need to be addressed within the current model. We look forward to continuing to support pharmacists participating in this important trial,” Dr Freeman said.
“We also support the government’s increased investment in aged care to provide better care for our elders.
“We know medication management in aged care is a key area for improvement, so it is imperative that pharmacists are embedded within aged care facilities to ensure the safe and effective use of medicines.
“These announcements have again ensured that doctors are one of the first cabs off the rank when it comes to additional investment in healthcare. We need to make sure patients are front and centre when healthcare investment is considered.
“That is why we have continued to call for investment in medication safety by ensuring pharmacists are embedded within aged care and other settings.
“Pharmacists understand how important medicine safety is to residents’ health. By working with doctors, nurses and residents to ensure the right medicines are being taken in the right way at the right time, pharmacists can greatly improve health outcomes.
“We call on the government for some of the additional investment in research through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to focus on medicines safety. Medicines are still a leading cause of harm and hospitalisations and are an under-researched area with substantial gaps existing in the literature.”
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