PSA supports NSW budget’s health initiatives

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is welcoming the NSW Government’s budget initiatives to improve medicine safety and outcomes for patients across NSW.

Released this week, the 2021-22 NSW Budget is committing $37.3 million to the implementation of Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM), and $82.8 million over four years to bolster palliative care services across the state.

“RTPM will enable pharmacists to work with doctors to facilitate a patient-centred approach and will address the increase in harm resulting from inappropriate use of certain prescription medicines,” says PSA NSW President, Chelsea Felkai.

“We know that deaths from prescription medicines have outpaced deaths from illicit drugs in Australia, and RTPM has the potential to provide better oversight to patients prescribed with high-risk medications – reducing risk of death, overdose and dependence,” she says.

PSA is also committed to work closely with the NSW government to support the effective implementation of the NSW SafeScript RTPM system.

In addition, PSA also says it supports the NSW government’s commitment to strengthening palliative care services. Embedding pharmacists in palliative care teams will enable timely access to core medicines and will support end-of-life care for patients who choose to spend their last days of life in the community.

However, Ms Felkai also says that the budget has missed the opportunity to utilise state pharmacists.

“Whilst there are many positive outcomes in the budget announcement, it has missed the opportunity to utilise the skills, expertise and accessibility of pharmacists to both support the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, and to help take pressure off our hospitals.

“This budget has significant investments in hospital upgrades, but misses the opportunity to reduce the financial impact and burden of non-urgent presentations on hospital emergency departments, which could be better managed in primary care settings.

“We know that 70% of non-urgent presentations to emergency departments occur between the hours of 9am and 7pm, during the typical business hours of a community pharmacy – and where required, can be referred to general practitioners.”

Ms Felkai also urged the government to activate community pharmacists as soon as possible across the state to help accelerate NSW’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

“We know that primary care providers are administering Covid-19 vaccinations at twice the rate of vaccination hubs, so we need to draw on the existing infrastructure and pharmacist vaccinator workforce to join our GP colleagues in getting the vaccine rolled out more efficiently.”

 

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