The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the NSW Government’s budget commitments to healthcare, in particular investing in systems to track prescribed medicines associated with high risk of causing harm or dependence.
PSA NSW Branch President Chelsea Felkai commended the Government on this initiative with PSA having advocated, most recently in its pre-budget submission for funds to be allocated to a real time prescription monitoring system (RTPM).
“The implementation of RTPM will better inform clinical decision-making and improve medicine and patient safety,” she said.
“Deaths from prescription medicines have outpaced deaths from illicit drugs in Australia and RTPM will reduce inappropriate multiple prescribing events, reduce fraudulent prescribing and improve quality of care by facilitating a patient-centred approach.
“PSA also welcomes the $55.9 million investment over four years to increase support for palliative care services to provide the best quality care and support for those reaching the end of their life.
“PSA has worked alongside the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) in supporting palliative care education for pharmacists who play a vital role in increasing access to core medicines for anticipatory prescribing, and work as part of a multidisciplinary team to support end of life care.”
Also included in the budget was $169.4 million over four years for mental health, the purchasing of over $1 billion in personal protective equipment to keep frontline health workers safe and $30 million for additional emergency department attendances and ambulance calls.
The PSA pre-budget submission called on the NSW Government to facilitate and fund community pharmacists to manage non-urgent presentations and allocate $9 million to reduce the financial impact and burden on emergency departments and improve access to health care through community pharmacy.
Ms Felkai said more than 10 per cent of emergency department presentations are considered non-urgent and 70 per cent of these presentations occur during business hours of a community pharmacy.
“Building upon the established accessibility of community pharmacies and the skills of pharmacists in the primary health care space will drastically improve the community’s access to health services.
“Allowing community pharmacists to triage, manage or refer patients to doctors for non-urgent or low urgency medical conditions would create significant benefits for both patient health and would save the health system between $131m and $439m a year.
“We also welcome the $1 billion investment in PPE which should include pharmacists in not only community pharmacies but hospitals and aged care facilities.
“As the peak body representing pharmacists in Australia we will continue to work with the NSW Government to ensure that pharmacists are better utilised to improve the state’s healthcare system.”