Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist June 2013 Contents 12 Australian Pharmacist June 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Q&A on collaboration
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
and the Royal Australian College of General
Practitioners recently signed an historic
Memorandum of Understanding to work
collaborative and cooperatively for the
benefit of their members and health
consumers in Australia.
PSA President Grant Kardachi, RACGP
President Dr Liz Marles and PSA CEO Liesel
Wett attended the signing ceremony
and answered some questions from
Why are general practice and pharmacy
entering this agreement? Surely you work
together collaboratively already?
Grant Kardachi: Yes of course we do but
this is taking it a step further.
Liz Marles: It's really about formalising what
we have traditionally worked on together.
Liesel Wett: And of course, this is all
about the patient. That's why we've come
togetherwith this partnership -- for patients.
How do you see the renewed partnership
improving health outcomes for consumers?
LM: We have always had local partnerships
between our two professions -- this
strengthens that local relationship and
takes it to a whole new level.
GK: It strengthens the collaboration
between GPs and pharmacists and will
improve consumer health outcomes
LW: It reinforces the team-based approach
to primary healthcare which will further
advance the linkage and collaboration of
What benefits outside of health outcomes
will there be?
LM: Undoubtedly we will see greater
communication, liaison and cooperation in
areas like in policy development, education
GK: And in areas like media management
and advocacy where there is mutual patient
benefit. Collaborative research could also
What are some particular opportunities
LM: This agreement will strengthen our
existing ties, and help develop new ties
GK: Look, there are a whole lot of areas
of potential and we will be looking at all
LM: And some of the areas are around
eHealth and practice standards.
GK: This partnership can also help further
develop and introduce pharmacists into
GP practices where they could undertake
medicines reviews, keep doctors abreast
of the latest medicine developments and
perform medicine management duties.
Do you envisage any resistance form within
either or both professions?
LM: From the vast majority -- no, but there
will always be dissenters. A closer working
relationship makes sense -- for the patient
and the health system.
GK: Yes of course there will be some
resistance but I am confident we can, as a
collaborative group, identify and help to
overcome barriers to greater collaboration.
How do you see this partnership
contributing to the viability and
sustainability of our health system?
GK: It's no secret that the healthcare
environment faces a wide range of
ever-evolving challenges, not the least
of which are the ageing population and
the related effectiveness of medicines in
LM: This partnership will help us work
together, reduce duplication and use our
skills and knowledge collectively.
LW: We have to be realistic. Together we can
develop efficient and effective practices and
programs within the primary care area --
where we can.
How can we advance 'collaborative
healthcare' from something that we
talk about into something that becomes
everyday practice between GPs and
LM: Getting the model of health care right
would be a start. Working together not
in competition -- remembering why we
trained as health care clinicians.
LW: Primary healthcare is the fundamental
tenet and this partnership will make
sure our members make the most of this
GK: Collaboration has for too long been
simply a buzz word but this MoU sees
doctors and pharmacists working to put the
rhetoric into practice. It's a first step, but a
Will this be seen by some in both professions
as an infringement of their 'turf'?
GK: The whole issue of pharmacists and
doctors fighting a 'turf' war is now a
nonsense and I believe both professions
are mature and sophisticated enough to
recognise that each has individual skills
which can complement and support the
activities of the other profession. Working
collaboratively is not a de facto way of trying
to poach each other's territory.
LM: We have to break down the old
boundaries which have no place in today's
health environment. That's why we have
come together - this partnership is not a way
to intrude on to each other's turf; it is away
to strengthen the delivery of health service
across the country
LW: There may be a small few who do not
like the idea of collaboration but they are a
eHealth is mooted to improve health
outcomes and build collaboration
between health professionals so how can
thispartnership help to make this a reality?
LM: Our two professions are already very IT
literate -- we need to take a leadership role in
the delivery of eHealth care.
LW: There are big changes we can make --
to patients, and to the cost of healthcare in
reducing duplication. It's a smart solution in a
time of economic constraints.
LM: And who better to lead it than the two
professional bodies for general practice
GK: Liesel and Liz are quite correct.
The system remains barely operational.
Our partnership can help drive better uptake
of eHealth systems while also helping our
patients and customers sign up for what is
the future of health management.
LM: Well, the test of time will be how we
deliver. Let's see how we go.
(Look out for the Be our guest column in
next month's issue when Dr Liz Marles is
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