07 May 2019

RACGP Chair backs NSW caution on push for pharmacy prescribing

7/05/2019 10:25:30 AM

Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe has endorsed the NSW Government’s calls for an Australia-wide debate on pharmacist prescribing.

Charlotte Hespe
Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe is calling for clarity on pharmacy prescribing push.

New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard last week knocked back calls by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and state’s opposition to follow Queensland’s proposed state-wide trials of limited pharmacy prescribing.
‘There are some quite difficult and challenging clinical issues that need to be considered. My view is it would be preferable to make these decisions on an Australia-wide basis, not an individual state basis,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Minister Hazzard said he could see the benefit for limited pharmacy prescribing in regional areas.
‘But I’m also being strongly warned by the Ministry of Health [that] there needs to be appropriate protocols in place such that patients are getting the full checks and balances around risks and benefits that exist when they see a GP,’ he said.
The RACGP was strongly critical of the Queensland move, which will see a state-wide trial of limited pharmacy prescribing for UTI antibiotics and contraceptive pill repeats.
Associate Professor Charlotte Hespe, Chair of the RACGP Board and RACGP NSW&ACT, told newsGP that such a piecemeal approach is not ideal and called for an Australia-wide approach.
‘Queensland is being the disruptor. There’s no problem with disruption in healthcare if it means a better system for our patients but, unfortunately, I don’t see that increasing the pharmacy scope of practice is in any way designed to improve patient care,’ she said.
‘It is a business model.’
Associate Professor Hespe praised the NSW Government for its resistance.
‘We’re happy that they’ve taken the advice of the RACGP to go down this path,’ she said.
‘We’ve been strongly advocating at all times that we don’t see it is in the best interests of patient care to divide the provision of primary healthcare services into pharmacy.
‘I’m fully supportive of the role of pharmacy in primary care, and fully acknowledge the vital role pharmacists play in medication management and decreasing the significant number of preventable hospitalisations due to medication errors. But we need to strongly understand the need to stay in the scope of practice.
‘[Prescribing] fits in general practice. It does not fit in pharmacy.’
Associate Professor Hespe called instead for efforts to better incorporate pharmacists into a general practice setting.
‘I would 100% support a program by the NSW Government that looked at getting community pharmacists into general practice to do proper medication reviews and health literacy programs around safer medication use,’ she said.
‘I am not anti-pharmacist. Let’s get pharmacists doing what it is in their scope of practice and get government to fund that, instead of argy-bargy over what is already done well.’

NSW Government pharmacy prescribing scope of practice

newsGP weekly poll As a GP, do you think pharmacists should be allowed to prescribe antibiotics?

newsGP weekly poll As a GP, do you think pharmacists should be allowed to prescribe antibiotics?



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Dr Manal Rezkalla   8/05/2019 12:59:29 PM

I can’t see the benefits of the pharmacist play 2 rules and trying to do their job and Doctors job
With the increasing number of Doctors specially GPS the waiting time to see a doctor is short and appointments are available without booking while the waiting time in the chemist waiting for prescriptions to get processed is about an hour if not longer
I think pharmacists should focus on their profession and spend time advising the patients about their medications to avoid drugs confusion and adverse effect specially with different name of the same drug using the generic brands which causing a lot of confusion to the patient
Not every thing how to increase the the pharmacy business please we need to think of the patient benefits first

Sheng chao   8/05/2019 1:03:53 PM

If we are going to have pharmacy writing prescriptions why don’t we also allow doctors dispensing medications

Arnold Dela Cruz   8/05/2019 2:17:48 PM

It's a shame that the Qld government isn't doing what NSW had done (listening to their RACGP college).
This has been discussed well in Australia Doctor and the names of the proponents have been noted. I call on GPs in Qld to talk their MPs about the trials if we don't pharmacist prescribing antibiotics & OCP.
We can't take this sitting down.
Just as you say it A/Prof Hespe - ‘I , too, am not anti-pharmacist. Let’s get pharmacists doing what it is in their scope of practice and get government to fund that, instead of argy-bargy over what is already done well.’

Ahad KHAN   9/05/2019 7:32:01 PM

To be able to PRESCRIBE, you need a DIAGNOSIS first.
To be able to DIAGNOSE, you need a MBBS Degree.

There is a saying that ' Half a Physician is a Danger to the Community '
Non-MBBSs will never know what they do not know.

There is another saying :
The One who knows that he knows not - Teach him.
The One who knows that he knows - follow him
The One who knows not that he knows not - Beware of him.

The RACGP believes that a MBBS Degree + Hospital Internship is not sufficient.
This Doctor needs to go through GP Registrar Training, before this MBBS is considered safe enough to let loose in the Community on his / her own.

Pharmacists wanting to step into the Shoes of a G.P. !
God help the Patient !

Dr. Ahad Khan