Home' Australian Pharmacist : November 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- November #11, 2011
'So many health reform related
opportunities are now available to
help pharmacy professionals help
their community, that I'd like to
challenge the Congress to explore
some of them during its deliberations
on 'Discovery' -- the theme of 'Big
Ideas' that will play out during today's
'This expanding role is a welcome
step forward, but at the same time
we need to tread carefully, so that
the pharmacist's role always remains
that of a health professional first,
and commercial operator or hospital
'An important example of this
expanding role under the Fifth
Agreement is providing annual
incentive payments for pharmacists
to provide more primary health care
support to their patients.
Another area where pharmacists had
to fill a growing need was medication
error and misadventure, which were
estimated to cause well over 100,000
hospital admissions a year in Australia.
'We routinely talk with PSA about how
to best structure programs to help
pharmacists to advise and educate
patients about their medication
management including the Home
Medicines Review; the Residential
Medication Management Review;
and the new MedsCheck and Diabetes
Ms Smyth also detailed the changes
to the Home Medicines Review and
Residential Medication Management
Review programs as examples
of an improving system, before
stressing that Medicare Locals
are the foundation of our national
'Now direct HMR referral provides
another option for service provision,
and there are discussions about a third
pathway -- through hospital referrals.
'Medicare Locals will 'connect'
patients and service providers so they
can better navigate the health care
system. By linking and coordinating
local health care providers, people will
have clear paths and options.
'They will make it easier for patients
to be given the services they need by
better linking local GPs, nursing, allied
health, pharmacy and other health
professionals, hospitals and aged care.
They'll support this by maintaining
up-to-date local service directories.
'Medicare Locals will help ensure
integrated care and services for local
patients, including improving their
medicines safety, particularly as
patients move between the primary
care and hospital levels,
" she said.
'And professional pharmacists, no
matter where their day-to-day place
of work, should be front and centre
in these new, local structures.
'At the community level much of the
business of our reforms is about
strengthening the multi-disciplinary
health care model favoured by PSA.
Ms Smyth said another of the
key underlying reforms to aid
coordination and integration of care
for patients was in the development
of eHealth and the Government
expected professional pharmacy
services would play an important
role in helping create the personally
controlled health records for
'Pharmacists have consistently
been at the forefront of eHealth
developments and you have already
seen huge efficiency gains from
using health IT,
' she said.
'But there are further huge gains
for patients to be made by using
e-health records. With their
permission, all health professionals
that they see will be able to access
their patient history -- saving time
and avoiding mistakes and serious
In the area of mental health,
Ms Smyth said the Government was
well aware that PSA had already
shown highly innovative ways in
which pharmacists could stake a
role in delivering important mental
'On 15 August, PSA announced
that it would review and revise the
Statement of Mental Health Care
Capabilities for Pharmacists 2009,
Ms Smyth said.
'This work will carve out an
opportunity for PSA to more clearly
define the role of pharmacists
in mental health. I'd expect that
this will prove entirely possible
alongside or within Medicare Locals
-- as pharmacists will help them
provide support for local mental
The other area where the
Government saw great potential for
partnering with pharmacists was in
'Despite Australia's success in
reducing smoking rates over recent
decades, tobacco remains one of the
leading causes of preventable death
and disease among Australians, killing
over 15,000 Australians each and
' Ms Smyth said.
'One part of our comprehensive anti-
smoking strategy has been to list
nicotine replacement therapies on the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. We
need to make it as easy as possible
for people to give up the habit.
Ms Smyth said PAC11 brought
together pharmacy professionals at
an exciting time in the history of our
health care system.
'Now is the time for pharmacists
to put their hands up and take on a
greater role in delivering world-class
' she said.
Guests at the Roaring 20s themed PAC11 dinner included PSNZ National Executive member
Anne Privett, CEO Richard Townley and National President Elizabeth Plant.
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