King Review: Hospital pharmacy an underutilised conduit to improve community care

Unedited image: JJ Harrison

The interim report of the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation (King Review) fails to acknowledge or leverage the pivotal role of hospital pharmacists in ensuring Australians have appropriate and convenient access to medicines, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) said today. 

In its formal response to the interim report, SHPA highlighted managing transitions of care between hospitals and the community and prioritising the development of Home Medicine Reviews (HMRs) as key aspects of the King Review, while reaffirming the role of SHPA representing key stakeholders affected by Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) negotiations and decisions. 

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says hospital pharmacists are uniquely positioned to influence a reduction in the 230,000 medicine-related hospital admissions per year in Australia, which cost the health budget $1.2bn annually.

‘Research tells us the majority of medicine-related errors are preventable.

‘Truly patient-centred care acknowledges people need carefully considered guidance and support upon hospital discharge, to ensure they have the sound knowledge of, and convenient access to the medicines they need.

‘Hospital pharmacists comprise a workforce readily equipped with the expertise and operating within the infrastructure needed to tackle this critical problem, in close partnership with community pharmacy.’

Ms Michaels says SHPA will continue to welcome support of hospital-initiated HMR referral pathways, as expressed by the King Review panel.

‘It is important the value of medication review, which has been reiterated by ample research, is fully realised by increasing access for high-risk patients through funding hospital initiated HMRs. 

‘This is SHPA’s long-held position and, in numerous international examples, has led to improved transitional care, demonstrating the importance of addressing this complex area of care in both hospital and community settings, and with hospital and community pharmacy workforces.’

Ms Michaels says SHPA’s response to the King Review was informed by extensive consultation with members, including with its newly-formed Specialty Practice interest groups. 

‘Hospital pharmacists are progressive advocates for clinical excellence and committed to evidence-based practice and, as such, member support for SHPA policy positions is incredibly strong and consistent.

‘As a vital stakeholder group, managing significant Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) resources and trained to most appropriately initiate and manage the transition of care to the community setting, it is crucial the role of hospital pharmacists in ensuring Quality Use of Medicines is recognised through the involvement of SHPA in CPA negotiations.’

'King Review leaves hospital pharmacists out in the cold', Australian Journal of Pharmacy, Tuesday 1 August 2017

'Hospitals untapped resource', Pharmacy Daily, Wednesday 3 August 2017