The Northern Territory Government paved more ways for patients across the Territory to receive medical care from community pharmacists. These steps include the provision of more vaccinations and immediate medical treatment for non-serious health conditions or everyday ailments.
Moreover, this commitment of the NT not only supports the community but the pharmacists as well. According to Peter Hatswell, the NT Branch President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, this move has recognized the skills of pharmacists, their decision-making abilities, and their expertise to provide medical services to patients. Meaning, pharmacists are one of the trusted healthcare providers and their provision of services is truly a win for the community.
To make this commitment more accessible, community pharmacies will now operate longer during weekends. Although this can reduce the GP workload and GP service waiting time, this might affect the pharmacist shortage, thus, more pharmacists are encouraged to join the community profession. Mr. Hatswell also stated that pharmacists throughout the Territory are eager to collaborate closely with the government on the implementation of this wise policy.
Additional Vaccines NSW Pharmacists Can Administer
To improve patient access to medicines, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the expansion of the pharmacists’ scope of practice. From November 14, 2022, NSW pharmacists can now administer the following vaccines:
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)
Recently, pharmacists were given the go signal to prescribe medications for uncomplicated UTIs, oral contraceptives, minor skin ailments, and ear infections starting in 2023. Generally, the goal of these services is to reduce the pressure on the burnout healthcare system and allow the GPs to focus more on patients with serious medical conditions. According to Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant, pharmacists with relevant training are the only ones who can provide these services. Soon, the academic sector will also be given priority.
Ozempic Shortage: How Pharmacists Can Help?
The Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) declared that semaglutide stocks will not be available until March 2023. Although this can affect many diabetic patients, more especially in rural and remote areas, community pharmacists still make a way for them to receive their therapy.
Alternative therapies such as DPP-4 inhibitors, SGLT2 inhibitors, reduced dosing, and combined oral medications. These alternatives not only regulate blood glucose levels but also support cardiovascular health. However, these recommendations should only be approved and prescribed by a medical doctor.
Pharmacists also suggest that patients with diabetes who want to lose weight may consider reaching out to a dietitian and exercise physiologist. Patient education is one of the services pharmacists can offer, thus, helping them understand more options or alternatives for their medications is an excellent way to improve healthcare services in the country.
Pharmacy Graduate Wages to be Reviewed
Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) is still fighting for better compensation and benefits for pharmacy graduates. According to PPA CEO Jill McCabe, the organisation will submit an application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a review of graduation earnings under the Pharmacy Industry Award 2020.
As part of the four-yearly Award review procedure, the Employees' Union indicated earlier this week that the assessment of graduating rates in the Pharmacy Award was to proceed. However, according to the PPA, recently, the FWC has announced a conclusion to the four-yearly award reviews, along with the departure of FWC President, Iain Ross.
Acting FWC President Adam Hatcher informed the parties at a directions hearing held on November 08, 2022, that the PPA, a member of APESMA, might file a new application in response to the exceptional graduating rates in the Pharmacy Award. According to McCabe, the choice was in line with the FWC's announcement of the completion of the four-yearly review process.
Despite objections from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, PPA submitted a request to the FWC in 2019 to have pharmacy pay rates adjusted, which led to a 5% rise in the Award rate. But graduates of pharmacy schools did not receive the pay boost.
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