‘Fact Check’ on integrating pharmacists into GP practices: PSA

15 November, 2016

A new document addressing concerns about integrating pharmacists into GP practices with evidence-based facts has been launched by the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

The Fact Check document – which is supported by local and international evidence – outlines the wide-ranging benefits of integrating pharmacists in a GP environment as part of an interprofessional team.

PSA National President Joe Demarte said: "Pharmacists working in General Practice is one of several innovative strategies PSA is pursuing to support pharmacists to practice to their full scope, ensuring their skills can be optimised in consumer-focused, cost-effective, collaborative models of care."

Demarte said PSA has led the GP-pharmacist model in Australia following many years of advocacy and positive stakeholder relationships culminating in a collaborative model of care that has widespread support across Australia's healthcare community.

The latest University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Pharmacy Barometer released this week also showed pharmacists working in a medical practice were supported by 49% of pharmacy owners/owner managers, 63% of pharmacy managers/pharmacists-in-charge and 80% of employed pharmacists.

"Despite this strong support, misinformation is being spread about pharmacists working in General Practices and their impact on the wider profession and health system and PSA would like to address these misconceptions," Demarte said.

"Let's be very clear that PSA strMongly supports Australia's community pharmacy network, as evidenced by our numerous policy positions, submissions and advocacy activities as well as our investment in the Health Destination program, an initiative designed to improve the viability and sustainability of pharmacies.

"We also support the role of pharmacists working in general practices and see the two roles as complementary, not in opposition to one another. A flexible GP-pharmacist model will enhance integration of pharmacists and community pharmacies within the primary healthcare setting to ensure alignment and better coordination of services. This model is all about optimising the contribution of pharmacists and pharmacies, for the benefit of consumers.

"As a profession, if we put up barriers to innovation, we may miss opportunities for pharmacists to play a role in the broader health reform being progressed by Government – opportunities that are critical to pharmacists being utilised to their full potential."

Demarte urged the Federal Government to move ahead with their desire for a trial of integrating pharmacists in GP clinics.

"Let's evaluate the outcomes through a trial so we can test the impacts. Based on international and local experience, we believe a trial of GP pharmacists will demonstrate a positive impact on community pharmacies and local communities. I would encourage anyone who has concerns or doubts to read PSA's Fact Check."