News

Medication management and supply


Morgan Liotta


12/07/2019 11:42:49 AM

A new RACGP resource is designed to inform GPs and practice staff who already, or wish to, store and supply medicines directly to their patients.

Medication label
General practices can use the resource to help oversee their medication supply and administration, as well as for advice on labelling requirements.

Medication management and supply: A guide for general practice provides a high-level understanding of the regulatory and best-practice framework for supplying and managing medicines in general practice, collating information from various sources for practices that want to formalise a service that is already offered.
 
The practical guide provides GPs and general practices already supplying medicines such as vaccines directly to their patients with all of the information they need to know about storing, managing and supplying medicines.
 
Dr Edwin Kruys led the development of the guide. He told newsGP he believes it is an important resource that he hopes will be adopted more broadly in the general practice setting.
 
‘GPs and their teams regularly supply or administer medications in specific circumstances. For example, outside pharmacy business hours, in rural and regional areas, during home or nursing home visits, in palliative care, when giving vaccinations or handing pharmaceutical samples to their patients, and of course, during or after emergencies,’ he said.
 
The guide details a number of key areas and recommendations for the supply and management of medication in general practice, including:

Information is also provided on look-alike and sound-alike (LASA) medicines which, according to the RACGP, can increase the risk of patients being supplied the wrong medicine.
 
The guide recommends that GPs supplying medicines from within the practice can take extra precautions to ensure patients receive the correct medicine when supplying a LASA medicine, by using the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s National Tall Man Lettering list.
 
The GP’s role in counselling patients on supply and administration of medicines is a critical one, according to the RACGP. The guide states that:
 
Suitable counselling will mitigate the risk of adverse effects and increase medication adherence. GPs must speak with their patients and/or patients’ carers about the medicines supplied and answer any questions they may have. Even in urgent or emergency situations, patients and/or their carers must be provided with information about the medicines prescribed and supplied.
 
NPS Medicine Wise has also developed a useful list of FAQs for patients to ask their GP.
 
Dr Kruys acknowledges that although the GP plays a significant role in medication supervision, a whole-of-team approach is beneficial to the practice.
 
‘A collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to medication management is always superior – the best care is team care,’ he said.
 
‘The supply of medicines to patients in the general practice setting is ultimately the responsibility of the prescribing GP. Where appropriate, GPs may delegate some responsibilities to members of the team, such as a nurse or a general practice-based pharmacist.’
 
He recommends adequate training for all practice staff to ensure correct storage of medicines and up-to-date procedures are in place.
 
‘Practice team members who will be handling medications or vaccines must be inducted on commencing employment, covering all practice processes and policies associated with the management, supply, administration and storage of medicines in the practice,’ Dr Kruys said.
 
‘Practices could also consider regular refresher training to foster continuous improvement and risk management awareness.’
 
Dr Kruys hopes the new resource will help to inform general practice teams and provide opportunity to voice their opinion.
 
‘Medication management is an area that is subject to rapid change and I would like to encourage RACGP members to provide feedback on the guide and continue the conversation around collaborative medication management in primary care,’ he said.
 
The RACGP strongly recommends that appropriate legal or professional advice be sought prior to reliance on the content of Medication management and supply: A guide for general practice, or when integrating the content into practice procedures.



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