Pharmacy visits rising

Increasing patient visits are demonstrating the importance of community pharmacies as the most accessible health destinations in Australia.

The latest statistics reveal there are more than 449 million individual patient visits to pharmacies annually, a rise of nine million on previous figures.

This compares with 2018 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing some 381,000 visits to a GP daily, an average of just under 140 million visits a year.

Pharmacy Guild Acting National President, Professor Trent Twomey says the figures reflect the public’s trust in community pharmacies, and their recognition of the importance of the increasing range of services provided by their pharmacies.

“The figures also show that, on average, every person visits a community pharmacy 18 times each year in metropolitan, rural and remote locations,” he said.

“The accessibility of these pharmacies, which are often open after hours and on weekends, means patients can see a healthcare professional when GP clinics may be closed.

“It also reflects the growing range of professional services available through community pharmacies and the community’s wholehearted acceptance of getting these services from their trusted community pharmacy.”

Professor Twomey says the importance of community pharmacies will continue to grow as they are able increasingly to operate within their full scope of practice.

“The huge success of the community being able to access vaccinations through their community pharmacy highlights that the people of Australia want to be able to visit their pharmacy for an increasing range of services,” he said.

“Having pharmacists work to their full scope of practice is a win-win for the community and the broader health sector.”

Professor Twomey says patients already are benefiting from pharmacists providing more services under their scope of practice and these include vaccinations, medicine reviews and a wide range of health screening services – to name just a few.

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