UPDATE: Setting the standard for safety and quality across primary care: PSA welcomes release of National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the launch of new safety and quality standards keeping Australians safe when accessing primary health care, including care provided by pharmacists.


The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care today launched the National Safety and Quality Primary and Community Healthcare Standards, setting clear and consistent standards for safety and quality across all primary and community healthcare service providers.  A broad range of healthcare services directly involved in patient care, including general practice, allied health providers and community pharmacy, will be encouraged to implement the standards to protect the public from harm and improve the quality of health care delivered.


Importantly, the standards set minimum requirements for medicine safety. This is critical as more than 250,000 Australians are admitted to hospital each year due to medicine-related problems, at a cost in excess of $1.4 billion annually to the health system.


PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, said: “PSA welcomes this framework. The standards set new common expectations for all primary and community healthcare providers – including community pharmacies, general practices, dentists or sole traders such as accredited pharmacists.


“We appreciate the Commission’s recognition of existing profession-specific standards and accreditation programs. We expect existing sector-specific quality assurance programs, such as the Quality Care Pharmacy Program and the RACGP accreditation standards will evolve to include assessment and accreditation against this new national safety and quality standard.


“As these programs evolve, these standards will strengthen, rather than replace these accreditation requirements.


“As patients, their families and governments look for reassurance that our health system is safe, having a common set of standards for all healthcare providers will be welcome.


“Earlier this year, PSA made a submission to the Commission and expressed support, in particular, for the inclusion of requirements on medication safety, comprehensive care, communication for safety, and preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infection. These will help mitigate clinical safety risks commonly encountered in primary health care.


“The incorporation of ‘medication safety’ in the standards is timely and aligns with PSA’s Medicine Safety series reports and call to improve medication safety in Australia, as well as ‘Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety’ being declared the 10th National Health Priority Area in 2019,” A/Prof Freeman said.



Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463