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Expanding pharmacists’ role must link with general practice to achieve improved patient outcomes

03 Mar 2014

Australia’s general practice leaders are concerned fragmentation of patient care could be the result of recent proposals to expand pharmacists’ scope of practice as a solution to medical workforce shortages.
At a recent United General Practice Australia (UGPA) meeting in Melbourne, GP leaders agreed patient safety and quality of care must underpin any development in delivering patient services.
UGPA stresses the lack of evidence supporting the value of preventive health checks performed outside of general practice following a recent proposal recommending pharmacists conduct Government funded health checks.
Unlike general practice, preventive health checks performed in other healthcare settings showed no preventive health benefits.
Effective 1 March 2014, changes to the Home Medicine Review (HMR) will limit the number of reviews a patient can access to one over a two year period; a change that signals rationing of patient care.
UGPA is concerned programs that risk patient care and have no link to a GP are being proposed over those that facilitate the provision of collaborative care arrangements and quality patient care, particularly for patients with chronic and complex conditions.

UGPA acknowledges the value of integrating pharmacists into the primary healthcare multidisciplinary team; however GPs – skilled to act as the coordinator of care – must be at the centre of any team-based healthcare model.
Members of UGPA agreed that a medically led team-based model of care ensures compliance with best practice, prevent the occurrence of adverse events and maintain continuity of patient care.

UGPA comprises the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN), General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).
For further information:

RACGP: Dr Liz Marles, 0400 901 902

AMA: Dr Steve Hambleton, 0418 731 570

AGPN: Dr Nicholas Demediuk, 0418 550 827
            Dr Rod Pearce AM, 0417 864 774
GPRA: Dr David Chessor, 0406 214 076
ACRRM: Professor Richard Murray, 07 3105 8200
RDAA: Dr Ian Kamerman, 0427 241 900

Published: 03 Mar 2014