Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who are experts when it comes to over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications. However, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) believes that prescribing medications should only be done by medical doctors.
This concern was raised because of the recent Queensland Health’s decision to extend the UTI pharmacy prescribing pilot. According to the RACGP, this UTI Pharmacy Pilot, which allows pharmacists to prescribe medications for uncomplicated UTIs, is alarming, especially when patients receive the wrong prescriptions.
In a survey from the Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ), there were at least 239 patients who experienced post-trial complications resulting from their involvement in the pharmacy pilot.
According to RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price, extending the UTI Pharmacy Pilot can compromise patient safety and well-being. This pilot should be halted as it is considered a recipe for disaster. There are red flags and one patient, around 50’s, was prescribed antibiotics for a presumed UTI who turned out to have a 15-centimetre pelvic mass causing serious urinary symptoms.
RACGP on Covid-19 Booster Rollout
On a positive note, the RACGP welcomes the Covid-19 Booster Expansion, following the Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) to lower the age recommendation for a second Covid-19 booster dose to 50 years old. Those who are above 30 can also opt for the extra dose.
According to RACGP Vice President Dr. Bruce Willett, this move is a sensible decision to reduce the Covid-19 case numbers and keep the community safer.
Additionally, winter is approaching and the Covid-19 virus is not the only one prone to being transmitted. Instead, flu and other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus may become common too. For these reasons, getting Covid-19 boosters and flu shots can help in protecting ourselves, especially the vulnerable members of the community.
Dr. Willet also states that GPs and general practice teams need help and support in providing these immunisation services. General practitioners also offer their day-to-day patient care apart from delivering vaccination and doing all of these at the same time can exhaust them a lot.
RACGP on Covid-19 Antivirals Expansion
Aside from the Covid-19 booster rollout, the RACGP also welcomes the Covid-19 Antivirals Expansion. This program follows the federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler’s recommendation to widen the Covid-10 antiviral treatments.
Starting July 11, 2022, the antiviral treatment access will be expanded under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for patients who test positive for Covid-19. These patients include:
Those above 70 years old
Those over 50 years old with two or more risk factors for severe disease
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who are above 30 years old with two or more risk factors for severe disease
Immunocompromised patients above 18 years old
According to Dr. Bruce Willet, this program is exactly on time for the Australian community, especially for patients who are vulnerable to the side effects of the Covid-19 virus, and the general practitioners are the key to the safe prescribing of these antivirals.
Currently, the eligibility is limited and Dr. Willet would like to make the community understand that those who are vulnerable are currently the priority.
Furthermore, since these antivirals are under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, general practitioners can only prescribe them to patients who are diagnosed with Covid-19.
Take note that antivirals should be given within five days and they become less effective when it comes to day five. Thus, patients with positive Covid-19 rapid tests should contact a medical practitioner immediately.
If you are interested in taking part in these programs and the upcoming ones, you can consider Medical Recruitment. Here, we can help you find the best full-time and locum job opportunities while considering your preferences and goals in improving the healthcare system, especially during this time of the pandemic.
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