Pharmacists’ Skills Recognised

Pharmacists’ Skills Recognised in New Zealand Government’s Medicines Strategy

The release in late 2007 of the New Zealand Government’s medicines strategy – Medicines New Zealand – was welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society. The strategy aims to ensure the best health outcomes from medicines through having timely and affordable access to safe and effective medicines that are used optimally and to best effect.

Medicines New Zealand htt:// and its accompanying action plan acknowledge the key importance that the optimal use component plays. The strategy’s support for better use of pharmacists’ skills as an important way to achieve best use, and best health outcomes, from medicines is fully-endorsed by the Pharmaceutical Society. The strategy acknowledges there are barriers preventing pharmacists’ medicines management skills from being harnessed to full potential and the Society is committed to seeing those barriers overcome.

Medicines New Zealand presents many opportunities to focus on services that go beyond dispensing and towards helping people manage their medicines. The expanded role envisaged for pharmacists means working collaboratively with doctors and other health practitioners to support better health outcomes for individuals. It also means better use of hospital pharmacists’ skills especially during patients’ discharge and hand-over to primary care.

The Society supports other optimum use initiatives outlined in the strategy – relating to greater consumer access to quality information about medicines; greater access by health practitioners to best-practice information and guidance for quality prescribing; opportunities for team-based (collaborative) prescribing, and better systems for recording patients’ prescribing information and its retrieval where appropriate. Pharmacists have roles in these too.

The future looks bright for pharmacists’ enhanced medicines management skills. Already pharmacists are working within the recently initiated National Framework for Pharmacists’ Services and providing medicines use review services. This work, and other pharmacists’-led services, will play a large part in the successful implementation of the strategy, and in achieving the best health gains from medicines use. The Society believes that provided pharmacists rise to the challenges this strategy offers, and deliver on them, they have the opportunity to be recognised (professionally and remuneratively) for undertaking services that are rewarding and connected much more with their education and training, and that improve people’s health through medicines’ use.

June 2008