About on-site pharmacists
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified medication management and safety in residential aged care homes as an essential area for improvement. This initiative will respond to the Final Report recommendations by having a pharmacist on-site in residential aged care homes.
On-site pharmacists will regularly review medications, providing residents and their families with more confidence in their care. They will also work with aged care staff to best meet the residents’ and facility’s needs.
How this will work
In the first half of 2024, we are providing funding to community pharmacies to employ pharmacists to work on-site in residential aged care homes in a clinical role.
Where community pharmacies are unable or choose not to participate, Primary Health Networks (PHNs) will be able to engage pharmacists on behalf of residential aged care homes to work on-site.
It is not compulsory for a facility to take up an on-site pharmacist.
It is also not intended for pharmacies to be set up in residential aged care facilities.
This measure does not provide funding for:
- medicine or medical device supply or delivery, for example from a pharmacy to the residential aged care home
- medicine re-packaging, for example into Dose Administration Aids.
As residential aged care homes take up an on-site pharmacist, Residential Medication Management Review and Quality Use of Medicines Program services from visiting pharmacist will be replaced.
This initiative aims to:
- increase understanding of individual resident needs
- improve medication use and safety in the residential aged care home, including safe and appropriate use of high risk medications
- allow for continuity in medication management, such as day-to-day review of medications and issue resolution
- provide easy access to pharmacy advice for staff and residents
- integrate on-site pharmacists with the health care team, including local general practitioners, nurses and community pharmacy.
Training for pharmacists
We have contracted the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) to develop accreditation standards and an accreditation system. This will provide oversight and quality assurance of training programs for pharmacists taking on the role of an aged care on-site pharmacist.
The APC completed its work on 31 August 2023 and is now accepting accreditation applications for Medication Management Review (MMR) and Aged Care On-site pharmacist education programs.
From 1 September 2023, education providers can apply to have their programs accredited against APC's standards.
We consulted a range of stakeholders about this measure, including:
- aged care
- nursing and medical stakeholders
- leading researchers of pharmacy services in aged care.
Learn about what we’ve heard from consultation.
- Announcement by Minister Cheaper medicines to ease cost of living | Health Portfolio Ministers and Aged Care.
- APC development of accreditation standards Accreditation Standards for Aged Care and Medication Management Review (MMR) Pharmacist training programs | Australian Pharmacy Council.
- Approval of accreditation standards Approval of accreditation standards for credentialing of aged care and medication management review pharmacists | Australian Pharmacy Council