Effort to help those isolated during COVID-19 outbreak

Media Release

11 March, 2020

Home medicines services and electronic prescriptions to support isolated and vulnerable Australians during COVID-19 outbreak

Pharmacists will be able to better support vulnerable patients following the Federal Government’s announcement to fund home medicines services as part of its $2.4 billion COVID-19 health package.

PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman welcomed the Government’s announcement that $25 million will be allocated to fund home medicines services which will enable patients to have their PBS prescriptions filled online or remotely, and have their medicines delivered to their home.

These measures will support the announced telehealth Medicare items for GPs to help contain the spread of the virus and allow GPs to conduct consultations via phone or video.

“However, the effectiveness of this initiative will depend on the successful roll-out of electronic prescription which the Federal Government has committed an additional $5 million of funding to fast track software capability,” he said.

“PSA has been working with the Government to build capability for electronic prescriptions for many years. Fast-tracking of e-prescriptions is appropriate to ensure people in isolation are able to receive their essential and regular medicines to maintain their health.

PSA supports the approach in fast tracking electronic prescriptions but more needs to be done to support community pharmacy in the adoption and implementation of this initiative.

“This is particularly significant as we know that people with other health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, are at higher risk of complications of COVID-19.”

Associate Professor Freeman welcomed the funding of home delivery services as a pragmatic measure to ensure those people unable to leave their homes were not out of pocket at a time they were more likely to be under increased financial stress.

“PSA has been working closely with the Federal Government to highlight issues pharmacists on the frontline are experiencing in supporting their patients, including security of medicine supply, the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), stockpiling of medicines and the continuation of emergency dispensing provisions,” he said.

“We will continue to work with the Government and the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, to ensure the roll-out of these initiatives is practical, effective and well-communicated to the pharmacist workforce.

“PSA will continue to inform the profession the details of these initiatives as they are worked through with the Department of Health.

“Australians look to their pharmacists for their healthcare advice and as frontline health providers it is important that pharmacists are supported by Government so they can continue to provide care for their patients.”

Source: medianet.

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