Extending the role of pharmacists to ease pressure on healthcare providers

People at pharmacy
People at pharmacy

In an effort to relieve pressure on the state’s hospitals, the Tasmanian Government are exploring options that could allow pharmacists to prescribe or dispense certain medications.

“We are undertaking a Pharmacy Scope of Practice Review to consider what other services and supports this highly skilled group of professionals may be able to safely provide to Tasmanians,” said Premier and Minister for Health, Jeremy Rockliff.

The Department of Health have been tasked to look at ways the role of a pharmacist can be extended.

This includes expanding the list of medications that are already subject to continued dispensing provisions, such as medications used to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol, to include a broader group of medicines like oral contraceptives, medications for the treatment of migraine, eczema, asthma and emphysema, as well as patients who are stabilised on anti-depressant medications.

This would mean that pharmacists could dispense or supply typically a month of medication after a patient’s prescription runs out and the patient had been unable to access a GP.

“It does not mean pharmacists can initiate or prescribe these medications.”

“I have also asked the Department to investigate enabling pharmacists to administer a broader range of vaccines, including vaccines for the prevention of shingles, and travel vaccines already prescribed by a GP.” This would typically result in a reduction in the number of GP visits required for each vaccine.

“This initiative complements our innovative GP solutions package, including our Single Employer Model for rural generalists, our GP after hours support grants, Community Rapid Response Service, new Rural Medical Workforce Centre, Community Paramedics and mental health hospital in the home service.”

“Stakeholders will be immediately engaged in discussions on the medications and vaccines to be included in this interim extension of the scope of pharmacy.”

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