Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist July 2012 Contents Australian Pharmacist July 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 505
THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT SAYS
Patient Charter into
The Fifth Community Pharmacy
Agreement includes the Community
Pharmacy Service Charter, an important
reiteration of our commitment to the
people who come into our pharmacies.
One section of this charter states that:
'Everyone has the right to be able
to access health care and this right
is essential ...'
The operative word here is access and
after attending two conferences recently,
it was brought home to me that while
many pharmacists are reshaping the way
they do business and o ering a much
wider range of services, the people we
serve may not be accessing them because
they simply do not know about them.
At the National Medicines Symposium in
Sydney recently, the NPS Medicines Line
Advisory Group consumer representative
Alison Marcus made it very clear that as
a profession we are failing not in making
a wide range of professional services
available, but in letting people know that
these services are available.
Immediately after the NMS, I attended
PSA's Clinical and Practice Expo (CPExpo)
where consumer advocate Sally Crossing
AM spoke on Connecting practice to
patient outcomes: Quality Use of Medicines
-- Patient Perspective. Her message was
equally blunt: We are not getting the
message out to consumers about the
services we o er.
She also spelt out that consumers want:
• improved access, equity and
• seamless, a ordable healthcare that
provides the right care, at the right
time, in the right place
• a system that listens and responds
better to what consumers need
• control of their healthcare
• access to information about treatment
Again one of the key words in this
presentation was 'access'.
Speaking with both these presenters
highlighted that on an individual
basis we need to be clear about what
services we provide in the pharmacy,
and we need to get this message to
people before they enter the pharmacy.
They should not have to come in and ask
what we o er; they should have access
to that information beforehand. As the
population ages and more people may
face mobility problems, it is incumbent
upon us to facilitate their access to health
services by being clear about what
services are available, and where they
It may well be time for a bit of 'back to
the future' marketing. I recall some years
ago devoting a window of my pharmacy
to telling the outside world what
services I provided within the pharmacy.
Walking past the pharmacy people
could easily see that we provided Homes
Medicine Reviews, local area delivery,
professional advice from an accredited
pharmacist and a whole range of services.
It certainly was advertising what we did
but it also was a service in itself in that it
clearly spelt out to those who may have
had di culty getting about what we
could o er in the way of healthcare.
I can only imagine the frustration a
person with mobility issues must feel
when they make the e ort to enter a
pharmacy in search of a particular service
only to nd it is not available. So clearly it
is time to revisit how we get our message
across and in addition to tools such as
window displays, we need to utilise social
media, the internet, community groups,
and of course our colleagues in other
health professions, to let the world know
what we have to o er.
Also on the subject of providing services
to people who come into our pharmacies,
both presenters raised concerns
that pharmacists were not providing
Consumer Medicine Information
The issue of CMIs is always the subject of
some contentious debate. CMIs provide
information on the safe and e ective
use of a prescription medicine and are
designed, when used properly, to ensure
better health outcomes.
However, the content and format of CMIs
are not always user-friendly, relevant
and applicable for individual people and
their health needs. Because of the legal
requirement to ful l the needs of all
users of that product, irrespective of the
medical indication, they are not patient
speci c or even disease or medical
condition speci c and may require some
detailed interpretation for the patient to
achieve the right outcome.
Nevertheless, this not a reason to
simply ignore them! CMIs are valuable
sources of information and should be
provided to consumers, with additional
explanation by the pharmacist. As part
of our professional duty and counselling
role, we should personally provide
the CMI to the patient directly and
highlight the relevant information for
that patient within the bounds of our
knowledge of the medical condition that
is being treated.
I think we should also revisit CMIs in light
of the impending eHealth revolution.
If pharmacists are given easy electronic
access to patient records then having the
patient's medical history against which to
apply the CMI information will ensure the
information dispensed is more targeted
and appropriate to the each patient's
It is time to rethink the role of CMIs.
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