PSA welcomes the Government’s commitment to aged care, but more must be done

PSA welcomes the Morrison Government’s announcement on women’s health, mental health and aged care sector following tonight’s Federal Budget.


The Government has announced it will commit $17.7bn on aged care along with $1.9bn in additional funding for the COVID-19 vaccine program. A commitment has also been made to extend funding to the take-home naloxone pilot.


Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, commended the Federal Government for their decision, but says more must be done to safeguard residents from the harms medicine mismanagement is causing.


“The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our neglected aged care system. Tonight the Morrison Government has laid the foundation for rebuilding our aged care system from the ground up. Person-focussed care and collaborative care teams need to be at the centre of this reconstruction.”


“More must be done to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and deaths caused by medicines and help to restore faith and trust in the aged care sector.”


“Residents in aged care facilities deserve to have timely and regular access to the expertise of a pharmacist if they require advice and support with their medicines and medicine management.”


“Having pharmacists on-the-ground within aged care facilities must happen if we are serious about improving medicine management and resident safety in our aged care facilities.”


“Pharmacists, as the custodians of medicine safety, must play a key role in bridging the divide between health care and aged care, to reduce harmful medicine use and improve quality of life for older Australians.”


PSA is committed to working with the government to tackle the challenges of reducing medicine-related harm in aged care and the wider Australian community.



PSA’s reports, Medicine Safety: Take Care and Medicine Safety: Aged Care, found that:

  • 98% of residents in a residential aged care facility have at least one medicine-related problem;
  • Over half are exposed to at least one potentially inappropriate medicine;
  • 6% were administered at least one potentially hazardous medicine combination;
  • 50% of people with dementia are given medicines with anticholinergic properties, worsening confusion and other dementia symptoms;
  • 20% of unplanned hospital admissions for aged care residents are due to inappropriate medicine use;
  • Many of our aged care residents have faced dangerous and life-threatening drug interactions;
  • Half of residents are taking medicines that cause sedation or confusion, with 20% taking antipsychotics and more than half are taking medicines for far too long;
  • Between July 2000 and July 2013 there were 30 coronial investigations into medicine-related deaths in aged care facilities;
    • In nine cases, deaths occurred due to administration errors – in four cases medication was given to the wrong person; and in four other cases, monitoring errors resulted in a failure to recognise the signs of toxicity.


Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463