During World Pharmacist Week, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is highlighting the contribution pharmacists make in helping improve health outcomes for patients and Canberra based pharmacist Brad Butt is one who is changing the nature of community pharmacy.
Mr Butt is managing partner of Cooleman Court Pharmacy and founder of Men’s Health Down Under, a pharmacy led clinic for male urological issues, with a particular focus on non-surgical maximisation of erection function and more specifically how best to get back to life post prostatectomy.
Ian Nash was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and following a successful prostatectomy found a gap in the healthcare system where there was very little information or assistance when it came to men regaining sexual function following surgery.
“I got to a period about five months after surgery where the nerves had not started to heal and I was getting into a bit of a black hole about all of this and that is about the time we saw a Urologist who referred us to Brad and things from then started to pick up,” he said.
“The value of having a pharmacist like Brad providing treatment and support is that he knows and is very knowledgeable about every single medication that is around and throughout my treatment he has found different methods and different ways of doing things whether it be injections, tablets or compounding a lozenge.
“Brad emphasised to us this is a marathon not a sprint but if you keep up with the medication and the devices you will have progress and sure enough we have due to his extraordinary knowledge.”
“Now almost four years post-surgery I am going really well so we are out and flying and in no short measure that is due to Brad’s help and treatment.”
Ian’s wife Jane Godtschalk said following surgery she was surprised how little information or assistance was available for men like Ian recovering from a prostatectomy.
“There is very little support for men post prostatectomy and I saw my husband becoming someone else and he kept saying I am not me anymore,” she said.
“Men don’t tend to talk about it, they don’t talk about sexual function, they don’t talk about recoveries and while you get very good pre surgery assistance and immediately post-surgery you don’t get much after that.
“Ian was initially skeptical when we went to the pharmacy to talk to Brad but he was very approachable and very passionate about what he does and was so easy to talk to and as you can imagine it is a very private thing but the advice and treatment he has given us has been incredible.”
Mr Butt who has specialised in men’s health since 2013 said men will generally seek help if there is something driving them like erectile issues and they know help is available but there is still plenty to be done.
“Men don’t talk about their health as much as they should and in our experience having done this for seven years the awareness of men’s health issues and representation that men get about their health is not as good as it can or should be,” he said.
“Men that come in for prostate cancer in particular their world has been tipped upside down and the primary reason they are there is for penile rehab but as part of the conversation you look at their health more holistically then just the right medications for them or the right advice and service.
“You need to be holistic in the services you offer and if you are providing a service for one thing but can value add by having a conversation about other areas of a person’s health and manage them more holistically then everybody wins.”
Mr Butt said the scope of pharmacists is ever expanding and when he started as a pharmacist 10 years ago the primary responsibility was for counselling on medications and making sure the dispensing of medicines was correct.
“You don’t need to be that traditional pharmacist these days there are opportunities to broaden your horizons and it is important to note that pharmacists have such an important role to play in the health care sector beyond provision of medication,” he said.
“The script component is probably still the primary focus for most pharmacists but there are a lot of healthcare areas that pharmacists now support and they also support other allied health professionals because pharmacists have a very unique skillset.”