COMMUNITY pharmacies stand ready to ease the burden on general practitioners to prevent them having to turn away mental health patients and sick children, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said in a prompted statement.
“A report in the Sydney Morning Herald today quotes the president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Dr Bastian Seidel, saying patients with complex conditions requiring longer appointments are being refused by doctors because they are not financially viable.
“If it’s more complicated, you have to go elsewhere,” Seidel said.
The Guild highlights that “just three days ago the RACGP was criticising health checks provided by pharmacies because they were “motivated by money” — yet today the RACGP admits its members are turning away the sickest and neediest patients because they don’t make enough money out of them”.
Guild acting national president Anthony Tassone said, “This is an alarming admission by the RACGP and one that highlights the potential for pharmacists to help, by taking some of the strain away from doctors’ surgeries.
“Within our existing scope of practice and acting collaboratively with local doctors, community pharmacies can ease the burden on the doctors, giving them more time to give care for patients they are currently turning away,” Tassone said.
“The acknowledgement by the RACGP that doctors can’t cope creates an opportunity to enhance the way community pharmacies are utilised in the health system,” he added.
Major pharmacy brand, Amcal, added weight to the Guild argument saying its suite of in-pharmacy health risk assessment services have significantly helped to increase patient engagement, by acting as an accessible frontline.
“With a large proportion of Australians claiming they avoid going to the doctor due to financial or time restraints, Amcal is delighted to see its in-pharmacy services having an impact on GP visitation and proactive health management,” the company said.