Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist September 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist September 2015 I © Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
it is safe to say that August 2015 will not be remembered by the Abbott
Government as one of its better months.
early in the month the Trans Pacific Free
Trade negotiations caused some angst.
This was soon overshadowed by the
public furore over the then-Speaker,
Bronwyn Bishop’s, woes. Ministers
then set about kicking each other in
sensitive places while trying to manage
the issue of marriage equality while
the Royal Commission into Trade Union
Corruption fell foul of accusations of
party political bias. These were just
three issues among many that saw the
Government lurching around like a one
legged man in a bottom kicking contest.
The Labor Opposition was pretty much
reduced to sitting on the sidelines
eating popcorn and lobbing to odd
hand grenade to see which way and
how high the Government would jump.
However, it was refreshing mid-month
to see something positive and voter
(read patient) centred appear when
the first public hearings of the House
of Representatives Health Committee
inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention
began in Canberra.
The committee’s initial hearings
considered a range of issues including
chronic disease prevention and
management in rural, remote and
indigenous primary health care.
When Canberra Commentary dug a bit
further it discovered that 104 written
submissions had been lodged with the
Committee, including one from the
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
The Society’s submission points out
that given the central role of medicines
in treating people with chronic disease
pharmacists should be included in
the list of allied health providers that
are able to provide services under the
Chronic Disease Management Item as
listed on the MBS. It concludes with
the statement that, ‘optimising the
pharmacist’s contribution in
collaborative models of management
and prevention of chronic disease has
the capacity to significantly improve the
health and wellbeing of Australians.’
Of interest was a submission from
Professor Libby Roughead, Director of the
Quality Use of medicines and Pharmacy
Research Centre at the University of
South Australia. Professor Roughead has
a fine reputation as a researcher and for
being well...very sensible.
She highlighted that 40% of Australians
report living with three or more chronic
conditions; 80% of Australians over the
age of 65 years live with multiple chronic
conditions and that people with multiple
chronic conditions see eight or nine
different health providers a year. Further
they would be taking more than five
different medicines concurrently with
many taking 10 or more.
Prof Roughead then pointed out that
the majority of present chronic disease
programs focused on single a disease and
did not address multiple chronic illnesses.
She suggested creating a national data
collection to support chronic disease
management in primary care by linking
claims data for the Pharmaceutical
Benefits Scheme, the Medicare Benefits
Scheme and the Tri-agency Residential
Aged-care Data exchange to create a
national data set covering 23 million
people. If the national data set for
public and private hospital admissions
(controlled by State and Territory
governments) was added, it would
enable identification of individuals with
frequent hospitalisations and provide
opportunities to implement preventive
programs for this population at high risk
of poor health outcomes,’ Prof Roughead
Of course this assumes privacy concerns
could be met and Federal, state and
territory Governments could cooperate.
A big ask perhaps, but not impossible.
Prof Roughead also suggested that
a hierarchy of funded programs be
developed to meet the needs of people
with multiple chronic diseases.
‘ The majority of government funded
services are those developed in the
1980s when Australia had a healthcare
system that was focused on acute
care and people saw one practitioner,’
Prof Roughead wrote.
The 104 people and organisations that
have offered their views obviously
think so. The final report will be a while
in coming but it could offer practical
ways to address the issue of multiple
A chronic situation
by ANDReW DANIeLS
» Canberra Commentary
Andrew Daniels is managing editor of australian
pharmacist. opinions expressed in this column are
not necessarily those of the pharmaceutical society,
its board or staff.
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