14 March 2017

Capital Health Network (CHN), through the ACT PHN programme, is examining the benefits of utilising non-dispensing Pharmacists in three local general practices. 

CHN Chief Executive Gaylene Coulton said that the initial findings from the pilot have been promising.

“Following the success of the first year of this innovative pilot, CHN has extended the pilot for another 12 months.  We’ve already seen a number of benefits from having an in-house Pharmacist based within a general practice.  For example, this can improve the communication between the practice and the patient’s usual community Pharmacist”, said Gaylene Coulton, CHN Chief Executive.

The three practices participating in the program are Isabella Plains Medical Centre, National Health Co-op and YourGP@Crace.

Katja Boom, Pharmacist at YourGP@Crace said the pilot has enhanced collaboration between Pharmacists, GPs and other health care workers which improves health care for patients through improved quality of prescribing, and better management and prevention of chronic disease.

“Together with the nurse and GP, I am part of the healthcare assessment undertaken for patients aged over 75.  I review their medication, adjust the medication list, give the patient a medication list print out, provide education to the patient about their medication and recommend changes to medication regimen where necessary to reduce medication load,” said Ms Boom, YourGP@Crace Pharmacist.

Dr Joe Oguns, Medical Director at the National Health Co-op said the pilot has enabled increased access between non-dispensing Pharmacists and GPs which has been quite helpful in optimizing prescribing, patient adherence to their medications and improved health outcomes.

“Having a Pharmacist in general practice has resulted in de-prescribing of medications which are not essential to patients’ current health needs which reduces pill burden and improves compliance with important medications.  It has also been beneficial in identifying and avoiding potentially significant medication related adverse events,” said Dr Oguns, National Health Co-op Medical Director.

An external evaluation is being conducted by the University of Canberra.

Capital Health Network is the ACT’s primary health network supporting health professionals to improve the coordination of care so that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.