Use Victorian pharmacists to reduce medicine related harm

Monday 7 December 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called on the Victorian Government to take action in three areas to reduce medicine-related harm as well as improve access to vaccinations to protect more Victorians, in its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission.


The PSA recommends expanding the range of vaccines that trained pharmacist immunisers are able to administer to include Pneumococcal, Varicella Zoster, COVID-19 vaccine and Influenza type B.


PSA Victorian Branch President John Jackson said to protect the Victorian community, it is crucial that pharmacist immunisers can administer all routine vaccines and COVID-19 vaccination when available.


“As trained pharmacist immunisers already have the skills and infrastructure to provide this service,this proposal could be implemented through simple amendments to the Victorian pharmacist administered vaccination guidelines,” he said.


“Increased access to vaccinations by more Victorians will reduce disease burden associated with vaccine-preventable diseases, reduce wait time for patients and increase access in rural and remote areas.


“Pharmacists have been immunising in Victoria since June 2016 and have demonstrated that they have the skills and competence necessary to do so.”


The PSA has also called on the Victorian Government to invest $2.7 million annually to employ pharmacists in state-run residential aged care facilities (RACF) to reduce the use of inappropriate medicines and protect residents from harms caused by medicines.


Mr Jackson said in order to achieve safe and best-possible use of medicines in the aged care sector, pharmacists with their unique knowledge and medicines expertise, must have a greater role in RACFs.


“Our recent Medicine Safety: Aged Care report showed 98 per cent of residents in aged-care facilities have at least one medicine related problem and 80 per cent are prescribed potentially inappropriate medicines.”


“Having pharmacists embedded in RACF will see the reduction in hospitalisations from medicine-related adverse events and the reduction in the use of psychotropic medicines and chemical restraints improving the quality of life for residents.


“We also call on the government to allocate $7 million to provide seven-day, extended hours clinical pharmacist services in public hospitals which will reduce medicine misadventure associated with transitions of care.


“People with complex medical problems are admitted at all times of day and all days of the week and it is not acceptable that a patient admitted to hospital on a Saturday evening for example will not receive timely pharmacist review as they would if admitted on a Tuesday morning.”


PSA also continued to call on the Victorian Government to establish the role of a Victorian Chief Pharmacist to improve implementation of health policy, programs and regulatory controls.


The Chief Pharmacist would liaise with all relevant contact points within government to provide advice to ministers, ministerial staff and agencies also providing a consistent voice and point of contact for peak professional bodies such as PSA.


To view the Pre Budget Submission click here: https://www.psa.org.au/victoria-pre-budget-submission-2021-22/


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176