Pharmacists welcome report urging greater emphasis on self care

25 June, 2015

Calls for greater integration of self care into the national health policy have been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the report, Towards Responsible Self Care: The role of health literacy, pharmacy and non-prescription medicines, specifically recommended that pharmacies should play a greater role in delivering primary health care, promoting health literacy and supporting responsible self care.

"This principle is totally supported by the PSA and is embedded in much of the work the Society undertakes," Kardachi said.

"In addition we are now moving into the implementation phase of our Health Destination Pharmacy model which is designed to build greater interaction and communication between pharmacists and consumers to increase health outcomes.

"The Towards Responsible Self Care report says greater investment is required in preparing the pharmacy to conduct private discussions with consumers, ensuring adequate staffing levels, training and professional development of staff and continually reviewing and assessing its services for quality improvement.

"These are features of the Health Destination Pharmacy model.

"A key component of the Health Destination Pharmacy is the presence of a non-dispensing pharmacist assisting with the provision of a range of evidence-based minor ailment and professional pharmacy services.

"The Health Destination Pharmacy evolved from the need to reposition community pharmacy and transition it to meet the changing health needs of consumers with pharmacies as health destinations and pharmacists as clinicians."

Kardachi said the Towards Responsible Self Care report noted that a 'pharmacy first' policy for short-term self-limiting ailments would free GP and hospital resources to concentrate on more serious cases.

"Pharmacists are the most accessible of all health professionals and often the first point of contact a consumer has in regard to discussing an issue with a health professional," Kardachi said.

"Further utilising our skills and knowledge in delivering primary health care makes good sense for consumers and for the viability and sustainability of the health system in this country."

Kardachi said health literacy concerns were raised in the report and this was an area that needed to be improved in the community.

"Pharmacists need to continually upskill their health literacy to ensure that knowledge and information is communicated effectively during interactions with consumers," Kardachi said.