Funding issues and options for pharmacists providing sessional services to rural hospitals in Australia

Tan, Amy C. W., Emmerton, Lynne M., Hattingh, H. Laetitia and La Caze, Adam (2015) Funding issues and options for pharmacists providing sessional services to rural hospitals in Australia. Australian Health Review, 39 3: 351-358. doi:10.1071/AH14081

Author Tan, Amy C. W.
Emmerton, Lynne M.
Hattingh, H. Laetitia
La Caze, Adam
Title Funding issues and options for pharmacists providing sessional services to rural hospitals in Australia
Journal name Australian Health Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0156-5788
Publication date 2015-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AH14081
Open Access Status
Volume 39
Issue 3
Start page 351
End page 358
Total pages 8
Place of publication Clayton, VIC Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
     Objective.   Many of Australia’s rural hospitals operate without an on-site pharmacist. In some, community pharmacists have sessional contracts to provide medication management services to inpatients. This paper discusses the funding arrangements of identified sessional employment models to raise awareness of options for other rural hospitals.
     Methods. Semistructured one-on-one interviews were conducted with rural pharmacists with experience in a sessional employment role (n = 8) or who were seeking sessional arrangements (n = 4). Participants were identified via publicity and referrals. Interviews were conducted via telephone or Skype for ~40–55 min each, recorded and analysed descriptively.
     Results. A shortage of state funding and reliance on federal funding was reported. Pharmacists accredited to provide medication reviews claimed remuneration via these federal schemes; however, restrictive criteria limited their scope of services. Funds pooling to subsidise remuneration for the pharmacists was evident and arrangements with local community pharmacies provided business frameworks to support sessional services.
     Conclusion. Participants were unaware of each other’s models of practice, highlighting the need to share information and these findings. Several similarities existed, namely, pooling funds and use of federal medication review remuneration. Findings highlighted the need for a stable remuneration pathway and business model to enable wider implementation of sessional pharmacist models.

What is known about the topic?    Many rural hospitals lack an optimal workforce to provide comprehensive health services, including pharmaceutical services. One solution to address medication management shortfalls is employment of a local community pharmacist or consultant pharmacist on a sessional basis in the hospital. There is no known research into remuneration options for pharmacists providing sessional hospital services.
What does this paper add?    Viability of services and financial sustainability are paramount in rural healthcare. This paper describes and compares the mechanisms initiated independently by hospitals or pharmacists to meet the medication needs of rural hospital patients. Awareness of the funding arrangements provides options for health service providers to extend services to other rural communities.
What are the implications for practitioners?    Rural practitioners who identify unmet service needs may be inspired to explore funding arrangements successfully implemented by our participants. Innovative use of existing funding schemes has potential to create employment options for rural practitioners and increase provision of services in rural areas.
Keyword Funding
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Pharmacy Publications
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