The NSW Community Pharmacy Palliative Care Initiative was a two-year project to enhance palliative care services within NSW by supporting the role of community pharmacy in improving medication management for people with palliative care needs.
This initiative was led by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) and was part of the NSW Government’s additional $100 million investment in palliative care from 2017-18 to 2020-21.
The project involved two phases.
Phase 1 (2017-18)
Phase 1 involved establishing a steering committee, reviewing the evidence and consulting with stakeholders to understand current issues and priorities for community pharmacy involvement in palliative care.
Over 100 individuals from over 35 organisations were consulted. There was recognition and strong support from stakeholders for strengthened involvement and integration of community pharmacy in palliative care, by leveraging the expertise and accessibility of community pharmacists.
A report on Phase 1 is available on Clinical Excellence Commission - NSW Community Pharmacy Palliative Care.
Phase 2 (2018-19)
Phase 2 involved planning and implementing priority recommendations from Phase 1 to support community pharmacy involvement in palliative care.
This included establishment of a recommended core palliative medicines list for NSW pharmacies and development of a standardised palliative care education package for community pharmacists.
Core palliative care medicines list
In 2018, the CEC conducted a survey of all community pharmacies in NSW. The survey demonstrated a need to improve medicine access for patients who choose to spend their last days of life in the community.
It can be difficult for pharmacies to know which palliative care medicines will be prescribed to manage end of life symptoms and to know which medicines to stock. As a result, a core palliative care medicines list was developed for NSW community pharmacists, General Practitioners and palliative care teams.
The list includes five injectable medicines that are recommended for prescribers and community pharmacists. The list does not restrict which medicines can be prescribed for individual patients, but is one approach which will allow community pharmacies to anticipate the medicines most likely to be prescribed, and allow prescribers to anticipate the medicines most likely to be readily available in NSW community pharmacies.
Palliative care education package for community pharmacists
With funding support from the NSW Government’s additional $100 million investment in palliative care, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia developed and published Palliative Care: Essential CPE.
This comprehensive education package is available to community pharmacists to build their palliative care knowledge and capabilities and is free of charge.