Date: 27 October 2014
Australia’s 5,400 community pharmacies are stepping up to take on more of the primary health care task to keep Australians healthy and reduce the cost to government of our national health system.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President George Tambassis said research showed that not all Australians understood the breadth of services available in community pharmacies.
When this was explained, 82% of qualitative research participants said they would be more inclined to access basic health care services from their community pharmacist.
The Guild today launched the “Discover More. Ask your Pharmacist.” campaign to encourage Australians to learn more about the services available in community pharmacies.
“By raising awareness and encouraging more Australians to visit their community pharmacist, we can improve health outcomes and reduce significant financial pressure on patients and the national health care budget,” Mr Tambassis said.
The Guild has identified significant potential areas of savings.
- 26 million GP visits each year are for minor ailments at a minimum cost to taxpayers of around $962 million (The standard consultation rebate for visiting a GP is $37). Community pharmacists can reduce some of these unnecessary visits to overworked GPs by treating uncomplicated health complaints.
- The average cost to the health system of a single patient’s hospital stay is $5204. By getting patients healthier sooner through better care and advice in the community, we can potentially reduce this cost by keeping them out of hospital.
- 30% of unplanned hospital admissions for over 65 year olds are medicine related (adverse medicine events). A home medicine review for a patient aged 77 to 87 on 11 or more medicines saves the health system an average of $8238 and keeps older Australians living in their home longer.
- The average Government subsidy per day for an aged care bed is $927 per week. Community pharmacy services including Dose Administration Aids and home deliveries help people live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
- Over 35 million work days are lost each year due to chronic pain at a cost of $34 billion. Community pharmacy can increase productivity and help Australians get back to work sooner through pain management advice, referrals and medicine.
- The mortality rates from cardiovascular disease could be reduced by 66% by addressing lifestyle issues such as being overweight and smoking. Community pharmacists can offer basic health checks and healthy lifestyle advice.The campaign focuses on four areas of community pharmacy:
“If we can increase awareness and use of these services, we can make a significant contribution to the well-being of Australians and managing the health budget more cost-effectively,” Mr Tambassis said.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a beautifully animated TV commercial, telling the story of a pharmacy that adapted to the needs of its local community. The story is set in the fictional town of Whatchoocan-Sea.
The national television campaign is supported by digital advertising, social media, public relations and a new Ask Your Pharmacist website www.askyourpharmacist.com.au
The website carries information about how pharmacy works, more about the services community pharmacy can provide, links to medicines information and the Find a Pharmacy portal.
Community pharmacists will be participating with in-store posters, badges and banners and a concerted effort to reach out and inform their local communities over coming months.
“I encourage consumers to join in the campaign, look for the iconic gold cross in their local pharmacy, and speak to their pharmacist to discover more about what community pharmacy can do to help keep them healthy,” Mr Tambassis said.
Greg Turnbull 0412 910261
Kaaren Latham 0409 809909
Contact: Nikki Watson