Media Release:

EMPHN funds pharmacists based in GP clinics to support better medications management

21 November, 2018

An initiative funded by Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) aims to support older people to manage their medications safely.

As people age and develop chronic health conditions, they are likely to use more medicines. However, using a greater number of medicines can lead to medication-related harm.  People taking more than five medications are at greater risk of an adverse effect.

To reduce this risk and help older people use medicines well, EMPHN is funding Blackburn Clinic and Nillumbik Medical to each employ a clinical pharmacist in their practice.

Michael Sukkar MP, the Federal Member for Deakin, said having pharmacists based in clinics will help provide expert medicines advice and support.

“These pharmacists will provide quality medication management, including reviewing the number of medicines older people are taking and reducing possible side effects he said.

“This initiative will particularly help those with multiple prescriptions, such as the elderly and those with chronic illness.”

EMPHN CEO Robin Whyte said that that a team based care approach in general practice brings benefits to patients especially those with chronic conditions.

“Having a pharmacist working closely with the rest of the team at these practices will improve the way patient medications are managed by the nurses, doctors and the patient,” she said.

Blackburn Clinic Practice Manager Helen Yaacoub said, “Our GPs love having an expert to collaborate with regarding challenging situations where medications interact, cause side-effects, or don’t produce the desired results; and our patients love the one-to-one sessions with the pharmacist.”

Nillumbik Clinic Clinical Care Manager Felicity Emery said, “Our onsite pharmacist, Kamran, presents a familiar face when providing readily accessible knowledge into medication awareness and support for our patients. Kamran is also a valuable training resource for our nurses and doctors.”

The project aims to improve medication management in patients attending general practice, provide support to GPs and practice nurses in managing patients with complex medication plans, and increase the review of medications and patient support activities.

This initiative is funded by the Australian Government under the PHN program.