PHARMACISTS SUPPORTED TO HELP PALLIATIVE CARE PATIENTS

Pharmacists across NSW will be supported to improve medication management for palliative care patients, to help people who choose to spend their last days at home. Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health Leslie Williams today announced the NSW Government was investing $200,000 in 2018/19 to improve the support pharmacists provide to palliative care patients in the community.

“The NSW Government is committed to breaking down barriers in the health system so people get palliative care at the right time, in the right ways,” Mrs Williams said.

“As health professionals, pharmacists in our communities play a unique role in dispensing medication and providing advice to palliative care patients. In 2015-16 there were about 83,000 palliative care-related prescriptions provided to almost 52,000 patients across Australia.

“This funding will help us collect insights from community pharmacists and other experts regarding how patients can be better supported by improving access to palliative care medication and providing advice on medicines. “The NSW Government listened to the community at palliative care roundtables and is delivering on our Budget commitment to look after our regional and rural communities,” Mrs Williams said.

The funding is part of the NSW Government’s record palliative care investment of an additional $100 million over the next four years, including $17.4 million in 2017-18. This is in addition to the $210 million spent on palliative care services each year.

The Clinical Excellence Commission is hosting workshops and consultation with representatives from community pharmacy, public and private palliative care services, community nursing, residential aged care, academics and consumers on ways to enhance medication management.

The first workshop was convened in Sydney today and will be followed by two regional and rural expert reference group meetings to ensure initiatives meet rural and regional community palliative care needs. A further meeting with key stakeholders is planned for 5 June, to develop outcomes that ensure improvements will be put into practice.

The 2017-18 State Budget also included funding for:
· palliative care training for 300 nurses and allied health staff
· 300 scholarships for rural and regional staff to enhance palliative care skills
· an additional 9 palliative care specialists in rural and regional areas
· two post-graduate fellow positions to provide relief for rural and regional palliative care medicine specialists and palliative care medicine education to other specialists and general practitioners
· an additional 30 palliative care nurses across NSW providing care in hospitals, homes and nursing homes