North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM) Project

PCAM resources

The Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM) project funded by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) aims to support palliative care in the community and assists people who wish to die at home through timely access to essential medicines. This minimises suffering associated with emergent end-of-life symptoms.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), the peak national organisation for pharmacists working in all sectors, has been commissioned by NWMPHN to coordinate this project.

PCAM – Letter of Intent

NWMPHN and PSA invite all community pharmacists within NWMPHN’s region (click here to see if your pharmacy is located in the region) to read the Letter of Intent (click here)and agree to stock medicines on NWMPHN’s Core Medicines List.


If you choose to complete the Letter of Intent, your pharmacy name and address will be published on a list of community pharmacies who have made this commitment.


The list will appear on public-facing directories and healthcare provider portals such as NWMPHN’s website, this PSA online hub and HealthPathways Melbourne to enable the public, general practitioners and other healthcare professionals to locate community pharmacies who support palliative care.

Participating community pharmacies


The Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM) Project aims to support palliative care in the community with a primary focus on end-of-life care, through enhanced planning and access to essential medicines in aid of people who wish to die at home.


The aims of the project are to:

  1. Establish a Core Medicine List (CML) based on best evidence for treating terminal phase symptoms, established CML in other settings, and preferences of local palliative care providers for the needs of their patients
  2. Increase awareness and use of the CML by prescribers
  3. Increase the number of community pharmacies stocking all medicines in the CML
  4. Increase awareness of anticipatory prescribing
  5. Increase collaboration between general practitioners and community pharmacists with regards to end-of-life care
  6. Improve timely access to palliative care medicines for patients.

The CML has been developed as part of the PCAM Project which is funded by NWMPHN. The Core Medicine List (CML) addresses the main symptoms commonly seen during terminal phase (pain, delirium, nausea, dyspnoea, and noisy breathing), and also takes in to account affordability and accessibility, by considering the need for parenteral administration and availability through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.


The use of a CML can minimise barriers that prevent access for patients, and facilitate timely anticipation, prescription, supply and use of medicines for end-of-life symptom management. Ranging the CML in pharmacies across the PHN will reduce the instances where a carer needs to visit multiple pharmacies before finding the medicines prescribed for emerging and urgent symptoms, especially outside of standard business hours.

The list includes the medicines endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicines for use in community-based palliative patients and considered the core palliative care medicine lists published in other states.  This list was established for NWMPHN’s region through consultation with local palliative care providers in NWMPHN’s region.

PCAM Medicines table

Community pharmacies are encouraged to stock these first-line medicines or may substitute these medicines dependent upon local prescribing preferences and/or stock availability.


This list does not restrict which medicines can be prescribed for individual palliative patients, but is one approach which will allow community pharmacies to anticipate medicines most likely to be prescribed, and allow prescribers to anticipate medicines most likely to be available for rapid supply in community pharmacies and RACFs within the NWMPHN region.

Enough stock should be held in a community pharmacy to provide an initial urgent supply to a patient/carer, until more stock arrives in the next scheduled medicine order to fulfil the prescription quantity. For most pharmacies, this would mean keeping a minimum of one box of each medicine.

The PCAM project will:

  • Develop and deliver education webinars targeted towards pharmacists, general practitioners (GPs) and Residential Aged Care Facility staff
  • Contact general practices in NWMPHN’s region to create awareness about anticipatory prescribing and the role of the CML
  • Contact community pharmacies in NWMPHN’s region about the CML, and encourage pharmacists to range the CML
  • Develop and maintain an online hub of palliative care resources relevant to pharmacists and prescribers


Develop an online mapping resource that shows the locations of pharmacies that have agreed to range the Core Medicines List within NWMPHN’s region

Please refer to the link to the Google Map embedded in this online hub.

Please fill out the form and email to Adeline.Tan@psa.org.au

Alternatively, you can complete the Letter of Intent online by clicking on the weblink below/copying the weblink into your web browser https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PRM77TC

For more information about the PCAM project, or for questions relating to the project activities, please email Adeline.Tan@psa.org.au


To register for an upcoming webinar, please click on the registration links below. The recordings of the webinars will be available on this website after they have been delivered.


Medicines in the last days of life: anticipatory medicines and medication management for end-of-life care:

· 19th Aug 2021 7.00pm-8.30pm (Melbourne time)
· Link to recording: HERE

Supporting palliative care patients in residential aged care: for nurses

· 14th September 2021 7.00pm-8.30pm (Melbourne time)
· Link to recording HERE

Supporting palliative care patients in residential aged care: for GPs and pharmacists

· 19th October 2021 7.00pm-8.30pm (Melbourne time)
· Link to recording HERE

PSA Resources

A series of collaborative health practitioner workshops focused on medicines management for end-of-life care which as funded by the South Australian Government through the Palliative Care 2020 Grants Program.


SA Palliative Care Medication Masterclass series

External Resources

Postgraduate unit (PGC5118 Palliative care) – The faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University offers a postgraduate unit that focusses on the pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of symptoms in palliative and end of life care.