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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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As I sit in my office trying to find inspiration for this article, a young woman
comes into the pharmacy seeking advice.
She is one of many who will come in to
the pharmacy today seeking assurance
about various minor ailments.
The pharmacist engages in a
consultation to establish her problem.
The patient thinks she has thrush and
once the pharmacist confirms this to his
own satisfaction, appropriate treatment is
supplied, along with appropriate advice
and a Self Care Card, and the patient is
happily on her way back to work.
Another win, win, win situation, I think
The patient has received competent
advice about her condition and can be
reasonably assured that the outcome
will be satisfactory. There has been no
need for the patient to seek medical
advice or indeed to go to an emergency
department about what is a relatively
minor problem and all of this has
been achieved without any cost to the
We will repeat this type of interaction
many times a day in our pharmacy –
and similar interactions will occur in
every pharmacy in Australia many times
today, and tomorrow and every other
day as well.
Some of these interactions will involve
the sale of a product, but many don’t.
Some involve lifestyle advice,
or reassurance or just the use of a
product ‘already at home’ – but some
will require referral to a GP or another
And as I said it happens all over Australia
in pharmacies every day.
If pharmacy was not supplying this
public health service, the national
health system would buckle under
weight of numbers, with neither general
practitioners nor public hospitals being
able to cope with the added stress of
seeing every runny nose, sneeze, tension
headache and cut finger.
Any rational assessment should
conclude that this service is vital to
public health and any efforts to improve
the system to make it more effective
should be embraced.
I was disappointed therefore to read
recent comments by the RACGP’s
President regarding the PSA’s innovative
Health Destination Pharmacy program,
a program which aims to improve the
service pharmacists already provide.
The Health Destination Pharmacy
program aims to help pharmacists work
more closely with other local healthcare
providers, including GPs, to improve
community health and better meet local
The PSA supports what is best for
consumers and there is evidence
internationally showing the success of
pharmacists do all
BY JOE DEMARTE, FPS, NATIONAL PRESIDENT
» NATIONAL PRESIDENT SAYS
health systems that enable individuals
to take responsibility for their own
The success of this health strategy
has been demonstrated in the United
Kingdom and Canada as an affordable
and rapidly-implementable solution.
The adoption of a structured, minor
ailment model in Australia – using
collaborative protocols for referrals
– would help to facilitate access to
essential, cost-effective primary care
solutions and it is estimated that an
enhanced minor ailment model in
Australia could produce a cost saving of
up to $260 million per year.
A key element of the PSA’s Health
Destination program involves an
evidence-based coaching system
designed to improve practice processes,
quality and outcomes. The change
process is complex so a tailored, on-site
coach is what has been proven to work.
The Health Destination Pharmacy
program is evidence-based with
proven results, backed by industry
leaders, and is being delivered by
Australia’s most experienced experts in
Overall, I am at a loss as to why
the RACGP and other healthcare
professionals wouldn’t support an
evidence-based program like Health
Destination Pharmacy that promotes
participation and collaboration with
local healthcare practitioners and has
the patient as its main focus.
Pharmacists are knowledgeable
health professionals whose expertise
can add value to the health system.
Instead, the RACGP should be engaging
constructively with PSA as to how this
can best be implemented.
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