Pharmacists: ‘ We’re blowing big bucks on doctor visits’
AUSTRALIANS are forking out tens of millions of dollars on doctor visits each year just to be told to take a Panadol.
New modelling from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia shows almost $65 million a year is being spent on appointments at which patients are advised to take paracetamol or ibuprofen. Patients were also more than $300 million out of pocket annually for quick GP visits for routine matters such as obtaining medical certificates, repeat prescriptions or cough medicine.
National Pharmacy Guild president George Tambassis said Australia’s healthcare system was not adequately adapting to the country’s ageing and growing population, leaving families with record costs and poorer access to GPs.
Pharmacists could play a bigger role in healthcare to relieve the pressure on doctors and save families money, he said.
“Making greater use of pharmacists in the healthcare system would mean families don’t need to pay for a doctors appointment every time they need repeat prescriptions, treatment for a common ailment, or a vaccination.
“It would also ease pressure on overworked GPs so they could spend more time with their patients, treating serious issues,” Mr Tambassis said.
The modelling showed Aussies pay about $181 million in out of pocket costs to see GPs only to be told to take over the counter drugs of some kind, more than $30 million to get vaccinations and about $44 million to get doctors’ certificates.
Responding to the modelling, AMA president Tony Bartone said if the guild wanted pharmacists to be doctors they should have medical degrees.