Community pharmacy would have been perfectly placed to support a rheumatic fever campaign in south Auckland that is reportedly under-funded and under-resourced, says Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand Chief Executive, Annabel Young.
New Zealand Doctor this week reported claims by a number of frontline health professionals that funding for a rheumatic fever throat swabbing campaign in Counties Manukau was inadequate.
It reported the Ministry of Health had allocated $12 million in the rheumatic fever campaign but now faced claims that the $1.377 million that went to Counties Manukau was short of what was required for a DHB serving a large, high risk population.
Ms Young says there is potential for community pharmacy to be a cost effective way of delivering services for DHBs, by supporting local coverage and undertaking services such as throat swabbing.
The Ministry of Health’s rheumatic fever project is intended to include Northland, Waikato, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.
Ms Young says the rheumatic fever throat swabbing campaign is an example of an opportunity missed. Community pharmacy could be included in the wider picture of supporting the services DHBs will need to deliver in the future.
“DHBs in these regions could make the funding they receive for such initiatives go further, if they include community pharmacists in their delivery plan. Pharmacists are an under-utilised primary health resource and they have the skills and training to carry out these kinds of services in a very cost effective way.”
Ms Young says DHBs could get so much more out of their budgets if they included community pharmacists in their strategic planning when it came to rolling out the delivery of services such as rheumatic fever throat swabbing.
“This is not a fight about who gets funded. It is about the most effective way to get to the target population and community pharmacy is ready to play its part within a health system that is facing increasing demand and financial pressure.”
Annabel Young - 027 440 9160 or 04 802 8201
Karen Crisp - 027 434 2301
• The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (Inc) is a national membership organisation representing community pharmacy owners. We provide leadership on all issues affecting the sector and we advocate for the business interests of community pharmacy.
• For additional information on the Guild and community pharmacy, please go to www.pgnz.org.nz.