New service helps people take medicines safely
The Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson said today, people who take several kinds of medications will get support from doctors and pharmacists to help them take their medicines safely.
22 March 2002
New service helps people take medicines safelyPeople who take several kinds of medications will get support from doctors and pharmacists to help them take their medicines safely, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson said today.
She announced a new $48 million Federal Government program, the Home Medicines Review.
Senator Patterson said the program was aimed at people using multiple medications, those having difficulties managing their medicines and people who had been recently discharged from hospital and other care.
"People need only to talk to their GP and they will then be referred to a specially-trained and accredited pharmacist. The pharmacist will arrange to visit the patient's home and check how they are using their medicines," she said.
"The pharmacist will then liaise with the doctor on their finding, allowing the doctor to make any necessary changes to medicines or dosages. In this way both the doctor and the pharmacist will ensure that the patient is taking their medicines effectively and safely."
Senator Patterson said providing a Medicare item for the Home Medicine Review program was a major step in collaboration between GPs and pharmacists. The program allows both groups to deliver significantly improved outcomes for people at risk of medication misadventure.
In her report, "The Nature and Extent of Drug Related Hospitalisation in Australia", Dr Libby Roughead, from the University of South Australia, estimated that 80,000 hospital admissions a year were the result of people taking medicines incorrectly. According to the report, the estimated cost was $350 million a year.
Senator Patterson said: "It is crucial that we reduce the number of people being admitted to hospital under these circumstances, and GPs and pharmacists are the key.
"For the first time, Medicare will recognise the value of professional co-operation between GPs and pharmacists in bringing their specific skills and insights to the medication management needs of their patients."
The Federal Government has committed $48 million to the program over the five year life of the Third Community Pharmacy Agreement, with an estimated 213,600 people expected to receive care in that period.
The pharmacists will be funded by the Federal Government and will not charge people.
Media Contact: Randal Markey, Senator Patterson's Office (02) 6277 7220, 0417 694 520