NACCHO and Indigenous community-controlled health sector oppose proposed Queensland Community Pharmacy trial

Earlier in February 2022, the Queensland Government proposed a trial in North Queensland to enable pharmacists to independently diagnose and prescribe medication for potentially serious and complex medical conditions without collaboration with doctors or the healthcare team. broader care of a client.

NACCHO and the Indigenous Community Controlled Health Organizations (ACCHO) in Queensland, along with the RACGP and the AMA, strongly oppose the proposed pilot project. The ACCHO sector is seriously concerned that it seeks to indiscriminately increase the scope of practice of community pharmacists without due regard to safety, effectiveness or demonstrated community needs.

Dr Dawn Casey, Deputy Chief Executive of NACCHO, said: “The trial is proposed for an area of ​​Australia with a very large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, but the proposal makes no mention increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs and the need for comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care.

“There has not been sufficient consultation with the community-controlled sector on the proposed trial. Additionally, the proposed trial will fragment care and result in missed opportunities for comprehensive team-based primary care. An example is the proposal to diagnose and treat acute otitis media, a condition that requires thorough and comprehensive monitoring of hearing health to help treat hearing loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Pharmacists are an important part of the primary care team and NACCHO supports their integrated role within our ACCHOs where they provide high quality team care.”

Dr Karen Price, president of the RACGP, said the lack of consultation was concerning and indicative of a poorly thought out pilot project.

“This is just another example of why this pilot was doomed all along,” she said.

“Not only has there been no proper consultation, there has clearly not been adequate thought given to the impact of this pilot project on the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.

“North Queensland has a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the stark reality is that many of these patients have complex health needs that require careful monitoring and follow-up by of a general practitioner. This pilot project will compromise their long-term health as we will see a fragmentation of care.

“I am not surprised that the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council has joined RACGP and other health groups in stepping back from the steering committee.”

Dr. Jason King, Chief Medical Officer of the Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation, said: “Our communities deserve the highest quality care. The pilot project is fragmenting health care for some of the most vulnerable. This undermines decades of work done by the ACCHO sector to bring us closer to closing the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

He further added, “Pharmacists play an important role in primary healthcare, however, expanding their proposed scope of practice is a bridge that will see substandard and disconnected healthcare that puts life of our communities at risk without any indication of cultural safety. or holistic approaches that we know are necessary for success.

Dania Ahwang, CEO of Wuchopperen Health Service, said: “ACCHOs are uniquely positioned to provide client-centred, culturally safe, integrated and holistic health and wellness care to our Aboriginal and Strait Islander communities. Torres of Far North Queensland.

“We are concerned about the lack of consultation to date regarding this pilot project given that the proposed service model implemented by the pilot project will fragment and seriously undermine the high quality primary health care services we provide to our communities. It also raises further concerns about the potential for increased morbidity and mortality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in far north Queensland which, instead of closing the gap, will make it further bigger.

Debra Malthouse, CEO of the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, said: “We are concerned about the negative impact this pilot project will have on the quality of health care for the large Aboriginal and Torres Strait population in the North Queensland. Many First Nations people suffer from significant burdens of chronic conditions and co-morbidities that require ongoing care delivered through a comprehensive primary health care model.

“We expect this pilot to focus on the patient’s condition, with little or no consideration of the multiple factors that impact the health and well-being of First Nations people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have higher levels of mortality and morbidity than other Australians and the implementation of this pilot project will only widen the gap.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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