The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is celebrating 25 years of pharmacist accreditation in conducting comprehensive medication reviews.
In February 1997, Federal Government funding of Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMRs) and early medication reviews for war veterans began.
Four years later, in October 2001, Home Medicine Reviews (HMRs) commenced, together with a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Item for general practitioners, which led to the creation of a revolutionary collaborative model.
PSA continues to support pharmacist accreditation as a vital process for ensuring funded medicine management services are conducted to a high standard.
Removing barriers that currently prevent more pharmacists from becoming accredited and supporting the growing number of older, at-risk Australians through these services remains a key area of focus for PSA.
“A quarter of a century ago, the first Australian pharmacists were accredited by the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) to conduct medication reviews,” says PSA National President, Associated Professor Chris Freeman.
“Today, accredited pharmacist practice has paved the way for the establishment of innovative models of care in Australia, such as embedded pharmacists in aged care and general practice.
“On behalf of the profession, I thank all accredited pharmacists for the critical support they continue to provide to their patients, aged care facilities and other health professional colleagues. You continue to create a solid platform for future pharmacist services.
“As of January this year, Australia has over 2000 accredited pharmacists across the nation. However, given the high demand for this service and the clear gap between those who need a medication review and those who have received one, we need more pharmacists to become accredited.
“This is a critical service that directly supports the Quality and Safe Use of Medicines National Health Priority Area.
“We have good evidence from studies, which demonstrates the impact of medication management reviews, whether that be keeping people out of the hospital, reducing medication-related problems, improving adherence, or the patient’s quality of life,” he says.
Debbie Rigby, Chair of the Interdisciplinary Team-based Care Community of Specialty Interest (ITBC-CSI), was among the first pharmacists accredited to conduct medication reviews:
“25 years of accreditation needs to be recognised and celebrated. Medication reviews have been the success story of professional programs funded through Community Pharmacy Agreements. They have been shown to be beneficial and sustainable.
“I feel proud to have been on the journey of accreditation and implementation of medication reviews in Australia. There is a strong professional spirit among accredited pharmacists, who strive to work in interdisciplinary environments and help patients achieve the best out of their medicines.
“I’d encourage pharmacists to seek accreditation, as the health system demands a wider role for pharmacists in aged care, disability care, general practice and transitions of care. We need to build capacity to provide high-quality medication management in these areas of need.
“Accreditation provides assurance to funders, consumers and medical practitioners that pharmacists are competent to deliver collaborative medication management, and reaccreditation reinforces the ethos of life-long learning,” says Ms Rigby.