Australians have spoken: Let pharmacists do more
Research released today on World Pharmacists Day shows communities across Australia overwhelmingly support pharmacists being able to provide more professional health services and working to their full scope of practice.
The research, conducted by independent firm Insightfully, found pharmacists were trusted by Australians to provide health advice for common, non-complex conditions, and 77 per cent of people said they trusted their pharmacist for this type of health advice.
More than 80 per cent were comfortable with pharmacists providing a full range of vaccinations for all ages (including those that are free on the National Immunisation Program), flu testing and anti-virals and vaccines, and preventative medication for overseas travel.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Professor Trent Twomey, said World Pharmacists Day was a time to celebrate everything pharmacists have done – and continue to do – each and every day for patients across Australia.
“It is also a day to show there is so much more they can do to help improve health outcomes in communities across the country,” he said.
“Pharmacists need to be able to work to their full scope and this research shows this is something that patients want and need.
“In addition to vaccinations, more than 70 per cent of Australians said they were comfortable with pharmacists providing cholesterol monitoring and script renewal; asthma script renewal and dosage adjustment; injections of other medicines for things like osteoporosis, allergies and hormone therapy.
“And more than 60 per cent of Australians were comfortable with treatment by pharmacists of ear, nose and throat conditions such as middle ear infections and tonsillitis; assessment and treatment of cellulitis; and assessment and treatment of urinary tract infections.”
Professor Twomey said the research also showed just how critical the situation was for people trying to access a GP.
“The wait times to see a GP are unacceptable. Some 28 per cent of Australians are waiting, on average, more than a week to get an appointment for themselves or someone they care about. And 11 per cent are waiting three or more weeks for a GP appointment,” Professor Twomey said.
“In regional areas the number of people waiting more than three weeks for an appointment increases to
15 per cent.
“One in four people have gone to the emergency department because they could not get an appointment to see their GP.
“Our doctors are under huge stress and patients are the ones suffering. This can be fixed, and fixed easily by enabling pharmacists to use the skills and expertise they have trained for.”
Professor Twomey called on all governments across Australia to immediately clear the way for pharmacists to work to their full scope.
“There is no reason why this time next year when we recognise World Pharmacists Day that we cannot be celebrating the ability of pharmacists to do more for their patients.”