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Australian pharmacists watch New Zealand pharmacy evolve

By Karen Keast | Last Updated: 19-11-2013

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia acting president Joe Demarte.

Australian pharmacists are monitoring the changing face of pharmacy in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s 947 pharmacists have signed up to the controversial three-year Pharmacy Services Agreement in which pharmacists are paid to manage patients on chronic therapies but lose their $5.30 dispensing fee.
The new arrangement, which came into effect on July 1, moves pharmacy to a patient-focused payment model and rewards pharmacists for providing support and advice to help patients better manage their medicines and medical conditions.
The new model of pharmacy will form one of a series of presentations at next month’s PAC12 congress and exhibition in Melbourne.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia acting president Joe Demarte said Australian pharmacists are watching the change with
“I am not sure if it needs to be introduced here but it is something that we would need to keep abreast of,” he said.
“It might produce wonderful results and if it’s successful you would have to take that into consideration.
“At the moment it’s a new initiative. At the moment, I don’t think we really know how it’s going to go.”
New Zealand pharmacists are also forging ahead in the area of in-pharmacy immunisations and while Australian pharmacists are currently not able to provide flu vaccinations, community pharmacy groups are using nurse immunisers to introduce their own flu vaccination programs.
“We think it’s a new role that is emerging and we have got an eye on that as well,” Mr Demarte said.
“There’s no reason why a pharmacist, if the pharmacist is accredited, there’s no reason why the pharmacist couldn’t do that.
“I think dispensing is still a core function but…there’s lots of professional things that pharmacists can do.
“I think it’s still a little way off. I don’t think we will be doing that in the next flu season.”
Mr Demarte said the pharmacy profession was evolving at an international level.
“I think that there’s enough happening to be able to say that we are in a state of change, a state of flux and I think that governments around the world are looking at ways to get other professions involved in patient care and pharmacy should be no different,” he said.
“We have got a lot to offer and our graduates are extremely well trained. There’s no-one that knows drugs better than pharmacists do. It’s just silly not to make use of that, isn’t it?
“The PSA sees pharmacists are able to offer a lot more and it is just a matter of working to find where we fit in and value add to the overall result for the patient.”
PAC12’s theme, From Vision to Reality, will focus on the changing nature of the pharmacy profession.
Hundreds of pharmacists are expected to attend the October 19 to 21 PAC12 event, to be held at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre.
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