Good news on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pharmacy reform
‘The announcement by the Commonwealth Department of Health that hospital doctors will be permitted to write Closing the Gap prescriptions for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients is long overdue’, says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Strategic Programs Director Dr Chris Bourke.
Dr Bourke is Australia’s first Aboriginal dentist.
‘AHHA has been advocating for this seemingly straightforward change since 2018.
‘It will be a welcome support for the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, often hundreds of kilometres from home and their usual GP, to be able to get the medicines they need when discharged from hospital.
‘The risks of medical conditions relapsing, and need for readmission to hospital, will certainly be reduced by this much needed change.
‘Additional reforms enabling any Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescriber, as well as registered Aboriginal Health Practitioners, to register eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in the Closing the Gap medicines scheme will also be very welcome’, Dr Bourke said.
‘We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients leaving hospital have much higher rates of unplanned readmissions and mortality than non-Indigenous patients.
‘This reform is therefore a much-needed step to reducing the poorer outcomes in healthcare suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
‘While we commend the reforms, the continuing omission of hospital pharmacies from the Closing the Gap medicines scheme is puzzling.
‘This means that while a hospital doctor can prescribe medicines under the scheme, the patient cannot get the prescription at the hospital, they have to go to a non-hospital pharmacy.
‘The immediate dispensing of a complete supply of vital medicines at the point of discharge as patients are leaving hospital would seem to be the most sensible and efficient way to safeguard their recovery’, Dr Bourke said.
More information on AHHA is available at ahha.asn.au.
August 25, 2020
Categories: IAHA News
Posted by: Renae Kilmister
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