Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2012 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 259
BE OUR GUEST
In the first installment of a new monthly
column -- Be our guest, where each month
an invited guest will provide opinion on
important issues of the day -- Federal Health
Minister, The Hon. Tanya Plibersek speaks
directly to PSA members through the pages
of Australian Pharmacist.
In December last year, I was delighted to
be appointed Minister for Health.
Two questions drive my approach to the
health portfolio: is it good for patients?
And of all the competing demands for
the health dollar, is this the best thing
I can do?
Two pharmacy reforms which recently
passed through the Parliament meet both
of these tests. The first was the laws to
allow continued dispensing.
Continued dispensing is good for
patients. When the program starts on
1 July this year, it will be easier for women
to get the pill and for Australians who
take statins to continue to get their
medicines even when their scripts have
run out and they haven't been able to get
back to the doctor.
New laws were also passed to enable
Medication Charts in residential
aged care homes to also be used as
a prescription. Currently a prescriber
must write a medication order on both
a PBS prescription and duplicate the
information on a medication chart.
The benefits to aged care residents
include reduced transcription errors and
duplication. Pharmacists will also have
timely notice of updates and changes to
a resident's medication regimen.
These are patient focused common
As we look to the challenges of the future,
the tests of what is good for patients and
what is the best health investment will
continue to guide my decision making.
Like many other developed countries, the
Australian population is ageing, and we
are looking at an alarming and growing
list of complex chronic illnesses.
In response, we need to help and
encourage Australians to manage
their own health to a greater extent
than ever before. The goals must be to
keep them healthy as long as possible
and out of hospital care. This means
providing excellent care in their homes
The Fifth Community Pharmacy
Agreement (5CPA) recognises this by
supporting pharmacists to deliver a range
of medication management services.
Nearly 80% of the professional programs
and services funded under the 5CPA are
aimed an improving patient care. This
includes programs and services like Home
Medicines Reviews, Clinical Interventions,
the provision of Dose Administration Aids
and Diabetes MedsCheck.
I am advised that by the end of the
first year of the Agreement, over 4,700
pharmacies had become quality assured
and had registered to receive the
Pharmacy Practice Incentive in return for
recording specific professional services
provided in their pharmacy. Since June
last year there have been over 500,000
clinical interventions documented by
those pharmacies that record their
This is a real success story!
It's good for patients who will feel more
comfortable to ask their pharmacist about
any issues they have with their medicines.
It's good for pharmacists because they are
now getting an incentive to resolve the
patients' medication issues and to then
document their activities. It's also good
for policy makers who will be able to use
the evidence accumulated to assess the
benefits of clinical interventions.
These programs exemplify the important
work pharmacists do in our communities.
While waiting for my scripts to be filled
I have often witnessed pharmacists
not only provide clinical interventions
but take the time to chat with lonely
patients who seek social interaction.
These intangible benefits that community
pharmacy provide may be hard to
measure but I can assure you the
Government and your communities
Since I became Health Minister a lot
of pharmacists have written to me
concerned about the Government's
views on a Senate Inquiry -- that was
proposed by the Greens Party -- into the
arrangements for the Fifth Community
The Government does not support an
inquiry. This is a five year Agreement
and is only in its second year. We believe
it is delivering for the community.
Our approach is to make sure the
Agreement is properly evaluated
through the evaluation already built
into the Agreement, and to use the
lessons learned to feed into the
development of a Sixth Agreement.
To that end, I have recently asked my
department to publically release the
PSA National President Grant Kardachi
says: 'Members would know PSA did not
see the need for an inquiry. The Minister's
views in this opinion piece are welcomed
by the PSA and we look forward to working
with the Minister and the Government to
ensure pharmacists are front and centre
in their minds when considering the
implementation of their agenda -- including
the reform agenda. We also look forward to
further contributions from the Minister.
Is it good for
By Tanya Plibersek
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