MSAC supports funding pharmacists in First Nations primary health services

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have welcomed a recommendation from the Medical Services Advisory Committee that the government should fund embedding non-dispensing pharmacists within Aboriginal Health Services.

The recommendation is based on a joint submission from PSA, NACCHO and James Cook University (JCU) that sought funding for the Improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC) project.

The IPAC project integrated 26 pharmacists into 18 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations for 15 months across Queensland, Victoria, and the Northern Territory.

Through the project, some Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services embedded pharmacists directly into their services, while others worked with community pharmacies to deliver pharmacy services.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to experience a higher burden of chronic disease due to cardiovascular, diabetes and other health problems than other Australians," said NACCHO chair Donnella Mills.

“We are thrilled that that this independent medical advisory group has officially supported funding for integrating pharmacists into ACCHOs’ model of care.

“Through the IPAC project, pharmacists have proven how valuable we are in improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health," added PSA national president Dr Fei Sim. “One-third of pharmacists involved in the IPAC project were contracted from community pharmacies, highlighting further opportunities for capacity building initiatives within the pharmacy sector to collaboratively deliver better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."