Pharmacists’ recommendations for answers to Health and Disability System Review

Media release: 9 September 2019

The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand congratulates the Minister’s Panel on an extensive and accomplished Health and Disability System Review Interim Report.

President of the Pharmaceutical Society, Ian McMichael says “Pharmacists play a crucial role in an integrated primary healthcare workforce. There is room to better utilise pharmacists’ skills by including them within general practices, hospitals and community wellbeing services.”

The Panel’s Report states, “Addressing issues relating to medicine utilisation and adherence will be important.”

The Society agrees. “This could well be addressed by scaling up pharmacists Medicines Use Review contracts with DHBs,” says McMichael.

Medicines Use Review is a service delivered by pharmacists to optimise medication understanding and adherence. Pharmacists complete a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of a patient’s understanding of, and adherence to, prescribed medication treatment. Pharmacists must be accredited to provide MUR services.

“This means pharmacists could sit down with patients to prevent any medication related problems as well as optimising their medication," says McMichael.

The Report also highlights pharmacist integration into general practice. McMichael says “there is room to better utilise pharmacists’ skills by including them within general practice teams, supporting general practitioners, through medicine therapy assessments and prescribing.

The Society will be calling for an Integrated Fund to be set up, similar to the NHS in the UK, to seriously enable the placement of pharmacists in general practice settings.

The concept of pharmacist integration into general practice has been gaining momentum internationally, in Australia, England, Canada and the US.

A 2019 study in the Journal of Primary Health Care, regarding pharmacist integration into general practice in New Zealand, shows economic benefits attributed to practice pharmacists have been savings in medication costs and freeing up general practitioner time, alongside improvements to the quality of patient care in terms of reduced medication errors and improvements in chronic disease management.

The Society is looking forward to jointly developing an agreed Health Workforce Plan with sector stakeholders and the Ministry of Health for the provision of Community and Primary Healthcare Services.

ENDS

For more information contact:
Ian McMichael
President, Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand
Email: ian@pharmacy547.co.nz
Mobile: 0274 855 221