Following the withdrawal of the initiative last year, Tasmania is now the first state to recommence continued dispensing. This move started last March 06, 2023, where if a Tasmanian is in need of a one-time supply of the majority of prescription-only medications but is unable to get a new prescription, they can go to their local pharmacy.
According to Premier Jeremy Rockliff, patients now have access to hundreds of new drugs, such as antidepressants, anticoagulants, anti-epileptics, and drugs for the treatment of long-term illnesses including diabetes and heart disease.
For eligible patients who are not going to their regular pharmacy, retaining the empty box from the last supply will be of great help to the pharmacist as they will need to verify prior and recent supplies of the medicine to that patient.
For the PSA, according to Ella van Tienan, to match Tasmania, the healthcare workforce needs to push all states to expand the selection of medications that pharmacists can provide through continuing dispensing. After, the Federal Health Department's second action will be to restore the PBS continuing dispensing list to its full scope, ensuring that patients have timely and cheap access to medications.
Community Pharmacists Providing More Vaccinations
An effort by the ACT Government to enable neighborhood pharmacists to offer more immunisations and treat more common ailments will help patients all around the ACT. According to Rachel Stephen-Smith, the Minister of Health, the ACT Government is committed to enhancing community access to healthcare and the immunisation program's expansion is a part of that commitment.
In the first week of March, the ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Standards were changed to allow Canberrans to receive the following vaccines at their neighbourhood pharmacy without a prescription starting March 17:
Hepatitis A and B
Prior to these vaccines, the following vaccines were already made available for a pharmacist to provide to the ACT community:
Acellular pertussis (dTpa)
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
Meanwhile, the NSW Government has granted the ACT Government permission for ACT pharmacies to take part in the NSW-led research to assess the efficacy of pharmacists prescribing antibiotics to treat uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI) in women.
According to Simon Blacker, ACT Branch President of the Guild, with their constant availability to assist patients and their distribution of well over 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines to the public, pharmacists played a crucial role during the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Pharmacy Guild applauds the Minister's choice to provide pharmacists a larger role in serving the community's healthcare needs. The Guild believes that this will reduce some of the load on the healthcare system.
Safety and Medication Administration in Residential Care, A Success
The results of a recent ACT experiment on pharmacists at residential aged care facilities (RACF) showed improved safety and medication management. According to CEO Megan Cahill, medication-related issues affected more than 95% of elderly patients in residential care facilities.
Furthermore, according to Sam Kosari, adjunct professor of pharmacy at the University of Canberra, the experiment showed that having a pharmacist on-site reduced the number of residents using potentially harmful medications.
15 of the 25 RACFs in the ACT participated when the trial started. Seven of these RACFs had a pharmacist on staff, while the other eight served as the control group. In the study's second phase, which examined wider implementation, an additional 13 sites were engaged.
The experiment also showed that loads of anticholinergic medications, which are linked to a higher risk of falls, delirium, and cognitive decline, were reduced as a result of having a pharmacist on site. Other improvements seen include the following:
Reduction in the antipsychotic dosage that residents are given
Reduction in the likelihood of the dangers connected with polypharmacy
In order to improve medication management for individuals living in residential aged care, a significant recommendation from the trial includes implementing the on-site pharmacist concept nationally. To read more about the report, please click here.
Demand a Full-Time, Four-Day Workweek
If broad recommendations from a parliamentary panel are approved, Australians would be paid their full-time wage to work just four days a week. According to Barbara Pocock, the Greens Senator, there are too many Aussies who put in excessively long hours. With this, she encourages that even though they worked 80% of the week, employees would continue to be paid a full-time wage and remain productive.It remains to be seen if implemented, how this could work in healthcare settings.
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