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Improving medication management in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Photo: Improving medication management in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communi....
Equitable access and effective use of medicine is critical to closing the gap in health and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.

Professor Amanda Wheeler from Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland, has formed a partnership with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

The research team will work with Aboriginal Health Services and community pharmacies to promote culturally appropriate medication review services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being.

The Pharmacy Guild is the peak organisation for community pharmacy owners and they are working with the Commonwealth Department of Health on the Pharmacy Trial Program (PTP).

The PTP aims to trial new and expanded community pharmacy programmes to improve health outcomes for consumers and/or extend the role of pharmacists in the delivery of primary healthcare services through community pharmacy.
“The Pharmacy Guild and Griffith researchers have been working together for quite some time,” says Professor Wheeler.

“It’s long been known that Indigenous communities face some big problems with access to medicines, advice and review services, it’s just not a simple fix,” she says.

“Establishing and maintaining trust and respectful relationships are crucial elements of what we’re trying to achieve.”

Professor Adrian Miller, formerly of Griffith University, will be subcontracted through Central Queensland University and will lead governance from an Indigenous research/cultural responsiveness perspective.

NACCHO is viewed as a critical partner to further support appropriate community engagement and service provision. This is the third major research project Professor Wheeler has conducted in partnership with the Pharmacy Guild into improving services provided by community pharmacies.

The research will develop, implement and evaluate the outcomes of culturally appropriate medication review services for Indigenous peoples (known as the IMeRSe Feasibility Study), which will be delivered by community pharmacists working with patients and staff of Aboriginal Health Services.

The purpose of the service is to empower patients to better manage their medicines, enhance adherence, avoid medication-related problems and prevent hospitalisations.

This will be a two-year feasibility study across Queensland, Northern Territory and New South Wales and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health (see http://6cpa.com.au/pharmacy-trial-program/indigenous-medication-review-service-feasibility-study/).

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