According to data released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), one-third of patients presenting at Emergency Departments (EDs) only require lower urgency care.
As a result of these findings – and given the fact that public hospitals are largely overcrowded – the AIHW recommends that community pharmacies and other primary healthcare professionals be mobilised to manage a large percentage of emergency patient presentations.
These recommendations are welcomed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch with Queensland Branch Vice President, Chris Owen, stating this is further opportunity for community pharmacists to support the healthcare system.
“Community pharmacists are the most frequently accessed and most accessible healthcare destinations with 97% of people living within 2.5km of their local pharmacy,” says Mr Owen, who adds that the full scope of community pharmacists is “broadening and includes immunisations and travel vaccinations”.
“As accessible and highly trained healthcare professionals we can do even more to support Queenslanders and the healthcare system,” he adds.
“With just under half (45%) of all lower urgency ED presentations occurring during a period when general practices are usually closed – patients should be made aware that community pharmacists are available on Sundays, public holidays, and many operate late night services after 8pm.
“Community pharmacists, particularly in regional Queensland, are already helping prevent the 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Queensland due to urinary tract and kidney infections.
“The Queensland Government is supporting hospitalisation reductions through the Urinary Tracy Infection (UTI) Pharmacy Pilot, which ensure that the one in two women who may be experiencing a UTI can be seen and treated immediately by participating community pharmacists to avoid further complications.”
Mr Owen reminds Queenslanders that whether it’s a flu vaccination, support with your medicine or medical management, “your local community pharmacist and the pharmacy team is ready and available” to support you.
To locate your nearest pharmacy and for more information on what healthcare services are offered, visit: findapharmacy.com.au.