RACGP hails 60-day dispensing meeting

Michelle Wisbey

5/12/2023 3:34:14 PM

Representatives from both sides of the contentious reform met last week to hash out differences and ensure patients are put first.

Closeup shot of two people shaking hands.
More than 600,000 scripts issued since 60-day dispensing was introduced on 1 September.

‘It is a very important part of healing a very fractured relationship.’
That is according to RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins following a meeting between the RACGP, the Pharmacy Guild and the AMA last week, discussing 60-day dispensing.
The meeting comes after a tense year, with doctors and pharmacists taking opposing sides on the reform, both staunchly advocating for their own views in a fierce media battle.
Ultimately, 60-day dispensing passed through Federal Parliament in August, allowing for its first stage to be rolled out on 1 September.
And as those battle scars begin to heal, Dr Higgins said now is the time to be working together.
‘This has been really distracting and personally very difficult, so this is an opportunity to move to some common ground and heal, because ultimately, we all want the same thing for our patients,’ she told newsGP.
‘We’re working together to educate patients and pharmacists and start a dialogue with the Guild, which is a much better outcome for all of us.
‘It was very positive, and I look forward to continuing to work with pharmacy organisations to get a better outcome for our patients.’
As part of the meeting, the RACGP was invited to take part in a video for the Department of Health and Aged Care, answering patients’ questions about 60-day dispensing on Friday.
The parties agreed to work together and discussed GPs’ ability to treat the whole patient.
They also spoke about the ability of GPs to use their clinical judgement to decide what ‘stable’ means, with legislation stating 60-day prescriptions are only available to ‘patients who are stable on their current treatment and have ongoing health conditions’.
‘What it showed is that we’re able to demonstrate the clinical reasoning and judgement that we have as GPs, and that we can tailor decisions to individual patients,’ Dr Higgins said.
‘There’s not a hard and fast rule. GPs know their patients and it’s the role of the GP to make the decision around what’s stable and what’s not.’
But the meeting comes as persistent myths about prescribing continue to scare and concern vulnerable patients, including that the change would lead to medication shortages, skyrocketing costs, or mass pharmacy shutdowns.
Additionally, more than half of all respondents to a recent newsGP poll said their local pharmacy has actively discouraged them or their patients from implementing 60-day prescriptions.

‘There have been concerns around pharmacists saying that they’ll charge extra, so these are the types of issues that we’re working with, because as a patient it is confusing,’ Dr Higgins said.
‘We raised concerns about the misinformation that has been sent to GPs and patients around 60-day dispensing and some of the myths out there.
‘But so far, the change has been embraced by patients, and I’ll continue to work with stakeholders and the Government to ensure that 60-day dispensing is embedded into the healthcare system.’
The reform has proven popular among patients, especially those living in rural or regional areas with more than 600,000 scripts issued since it became available, saving patients $5 million.
Dr Higgins said last week’s meeting was a first step towards repairing the strained relationships of the past and to ensuring patients are at the heart of any reform.
‘It’s important that GPs have a good working relationship with our retail pharmacists and also their primary care pharmacists,’ she said.
‘GPs, pharmacists, nurses, all of us are part of the same process, and there is always going to be ongoing challenges, but now we’re all working together.’
Further meetings between the stakeholder groups have been scheduled in coming weeks.
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Dr Paul Michael Coughlan   6/12/2023 6:11:42 PM

Honestly , in the context of patients with multi-morbidity , this initiative is a waste of clinical time and just one more irrelevant micromanagement issue to add to an already overloaded 16 minutes.
Patients can as easily poison themselves on one months supply as two .
Let them haggle with Pharmacy it is a waste of GP energy and a distraction from matters of clinical importance.

Imagine Stott and Davis Mark 2 : "Presenting complaint , review of existing comorbidities ,opportunistic prevention , and structured recall /review , plus explaining things like PSA interval changes, haggling with Pharmacy , and why despite a National TV advertising campaign , we only have 20 Shingrix in the fridge.

Lets sort out payroll tax :60 day dispensing should be left to consumers.

Dr Slavko Doslo   8/12/2023 12:43:41 PM

RACGP HAILS 60-days dispensing
that word sound familiar to me , so I put in GOOGLE hail translation and images ( hail from sky round ice) and than hail to returned soldiers ( but if you put hail to soldiers as images , you will see what is forbidden and punishable by law in Australia)
so please change word HAILS , rather put we welcome