The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) has recently expressed its delight in response to the NSW Government's decision to collaborate with the Commonwealth, taking a significant stride towards enabling 30-days' medicine supply for patients upon their discharge from hospitals. This move is set to revolutionise patient care and safety in New South Wales (NSW) while also bringing the state in line with the rest of the country regarding pharmaceutical benefits.
For years, patients in NSW and the ACT have faced a disparity in the supply of pharmaceutical benefits upon hospital discharge. While other Australian states have provided a 30-day Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) supply, patients in NSW have typically received a mere 2-7 days' worth of medication, leading to undue stress and risk as they scramble to secure GP appointments for medication renewal.
The long-standing issue was highlighted in the Inquiry into the impact of ambulance ramping and access block on the operation of hospital emergency departments in NSW. The report identified that providing patients with more medication on discharge improves their well-being and reduces the likelihood of them returning to Emergency Departments (EDs) if their medication runs out.
Key Recommendations and Implications
SHPA President Tom Simpson praised the NSW Government's decision to become a signatory to the Commonwealth's Pharmaceutical Reform Agreements (PRA). This strategic move will not only end the state's second-class status among Australian states but also ensure patients receive adequate medication supplies during their transition from hospital to home or residential care.
Moreover, the initiative will alleviate the burden on GPs, who often find themselves inundated with patients seeking new scripts within days of leaving the hospital. By providing 30-day medication supplies, the state aims to streamline patient care, enhance patient safety, and reduce unnecessary GP visits.
Enhancing Patient Safety
SHPA recognises the patient-centred nature of this government response and its potential to significantly improve patient safety. By providing funding to increase the number of public Hospital Pharmacists, the state aims to strengthen EDs, where medication errors and issues frequently occur due to the high-pressure environment.
Specialty ED Pharmacist care is crucial in minimising errors and upholding safe, quality care for patients in EDs. With more expert practitioners available to match ED opening hours, patient flow can be optimised, and capacity can be freed up, allowing doctors and nurses to allocate more time to patient care.
Furthermore, this initiative will enable NSW hospitals to expand Partnered Pharmacist Medication Charting (PPMC), a pioneering pharmacist prescribing system proven to be ten times safer for patients, resulting in patients spending 10% less time in the hospital.
The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia applauds the NSW Government's support for these recommendations, reflecting SHPA's member-led advocacy for improved patient care and safety. This decision promises to enhance the quality of healthcare in NSW, reduce the burden on GPs, and ensure patients have a safer transition from hospital to home or residential care.
In a time where healthcare systems are continually evolving, this development serves as a testament to the commitment of healthcare professionals and organisations like SHPA to advocate for clinical excellence and evidence-based practices, ultimately prioritising patient care and safety.
For more information on this groundbreaking development, you can visit the SHPA website.
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