Victorian pharmacists can reduce medicine-related harm

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called on the Victorian Government to take action in three areas to reduce medicine-related harm as well as improve access to vaccinations to protect more Victorians.

In its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission, the PSA recommends expanding the range of vaccines that trained pharmacist immunisers are able to administer to include Pneumococcal, Varicella-Zoster, the Covid-19 vaccine and Influenza type B.

PSA Victorian Branch President John Jackson says pharmacists have been immunising in Victoria since June 2016 and have demonstrated that they have the skills and competence necessary to do so.

The PSA has also called on the Victorian Government to invest $2.7 million annually to employ pharmacists in state-run residential aged care facilities (RACF) to reduce the use of inappropriate medicines and protect residents from harms caused by medicines.

Mr Jackson says in order to achieve safe and best-possible use of medicines in the aged care sector, pharmacists with their unique knowledge and medicines expertise must have a greater role in RACFs.

“Our recent Medicine Safety: Aged Care report showed 98 per cent of residents in aged-care facilities have at least one medicine-related problem and 80 per cent are prescribed potentially inappropriate medicines”.

“Having pharmacists embedded in RACF will see the reduction in hospitalisations from medicine-related adverse events and the reduction in the use of psychotropic medicines and chemical restraints improving the quality of life for residents.

“We also call on the government to allocate $7 million to provide seven-day, extended hours clinical pharmacist services in public hospitals which will reduce medicine misadventure associated with transitions of care.

“People with complex medical problems are admitted at all times of the day and all days of the week and it is not acceptable that a patient admitted to hospital on a Saturday evening, for example, will not receive timely pharmacist review as they would if admitted on a Tuesday morning.”

PSA also continued to call on the Victorian Government to establish the role of a Victorian Chief Pharmacist to improve implementation of health policy, programs and regulatory controls.

To view the Pre Budget Submission click here.