Access to healthcare through pharmacies critical


Media Release

Improved patient access to healthcare through community pharmacies needs to be a health priority in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.

In a Budget submission, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has highlighted access to, and affordability of, opioid dependence treatment as well as minimising medication errors by supporting e-prescritpions in community pharmacy.

National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia George Tambassis said the community pharmacy sector was committed to reducing the health, social and economic costs of substance misuse in Australia.

“As such we recognise the significant public benefits of the treatment programs and their capacity to assist individuals to be productive members of society,” he said.

“Given the magnitude of the issue we believe that a national coordinated approach to the management and treatment of opioid misuse is required.”

Mr Tambassis said the growing number of people dependent on opioids and the impact it has on individuals, families and the community was a concern.

“There are nearly 150 hospitalisations and 14 emergency department presentations involving opioid harm every day in Australia, and three people die from drug-induced deaths involving opioid use daily.”

“These are alarming statistics and we must act on them without hesitation. Our submission offers a practical and pragmatic approach to helping address this growing problem.”

Mr Tambassis said the success of e-prescriptions and their ability to help reduce medication errors relied on a community pharmacy’s capability to efficiently integrate the dispensing of an e-prescription, with its established paper-based workflow system and this requires investment in both new and upgraded technology.

“Community pharmacies have been required to adapt and invest the most when integrating e-prescriptions into both their clinical and business workflows and as volumes increase, the need for pharmacies to access and utilise appropriate IT infrastructure will only increase.

“In our submission we are calling for support to help pharmacies enact the necessary changes to ensure e-prescribing is able to live up to its expectations as a major tool in reducing medication errors.”

Text: The Pharmacy Guild of Australia