Date of prep: December 2020
Prescribing information and
adverse events reporting
For healthcare professionals only
An Australian study has demonstrated both economic and clinical benefits to community pharmacist running a minor ailment service.
The consultation service was evaluated in a cluster randomised controlled trial conducted over eight months in Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WSPHN), compared with usual pharmacist care. Fifty-five community pharmacists from 30 community pharmacies, 150 GPs from 27 general practices and 894 patients were recruited into the study.
The recommendations published demonstrate a ‘significant opportunity’ for pharmacists, GPs and other health professionals to operate in a collaborative professional capacity to best meet the healthcare needs of their patients while delivering care at the appropriate level.
The service supports a structured and integrated approach to consultation, seeks to standardise practice, focuses on increasing the quality and safe use of medicines and encourages patients to seek care at the appropriate level with greater accessibility. The evaluation of the service demonstrated ‘extremely positive’ results at both the patient and economic level, and the potential impact if the consultation service is implemented on a larger national scale.
The service was co-designed to complement general practice and promotes collaboration between professions. Stakeholders involved in co-design included GPs involved in WSPHN clinical governance, community pharmacists, management leaders from WSPHN, patients and representatives from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
The key elements of the service, included standardised triage consultation pre-agreed with GPs, integrated IT platforms pre-agreed with GPs, upskilling community pharmacists and change facilitation support.
The clinical evaluation demonstrated the effectiveness of the service, compared with usual pharmacist care. As follows:
The economic evaluation demonstrated the service to be highly cost-effective and provides evidence of significant savings for the Australian health system if implemented nationally. As follows:
The service model provides a solid framework for national rollout. IT infrastructure, change facilitation processes and agreed protocols have already been established. A number of recommendations are presented in the evaluation report for consideration by federal and state policymakers, primary health networks, professional organisations, the pharmaceutical industry and practitioners.
Sarah Dineen-Griffin, and the UTS research team, Dr Victoria Garcia Cardenas, Prof Kylie Williams, Emeritus Prof Charlie Benrimoj, in collaboration with WSPHN have evaluated a consultation service for community pharmacists to triage, manage and appropriately refer patients to general practitioners (GPs) for minor ailments through agreed referral pathways for the first time in Australia.
Click here to read the full evaluation report.
Pharmacy in Practice is a UK pharmacy publication with its roots in Scotland.