Natalie Green (left), pharmacist and proprietor of Terry White Chemmart Alstonville, and pharmacist Alannah Mann.

The 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) www.http://6cpa.com.au/ provides funding for pharmacists to deliver professional services to eligible patients. These services are provided at no cost to the patient and they aim to improve patient outcomes and medication adherence, to increase communication with other health care professionals and reduce medication misadventure.

Whilst there are many components to the 6CPA, the most relevant to prescribers are described below.

Medication Adherence Programs include Dosage Administration Aids (DAAs) and Staged Supply. Dosage Administration Aids (DAAs) are often known as ‘Webster Packs’. Whilst these are particularly useful for patients with complex medication regimens with multiple medications, such as quarter or half tablets or alternate day dosing, they are also beneficial in many other situations.

For example, children using psychostimulant medication in school packs, or patients with simple medication routines but miss doses frequently as the DAA allows them to see if doses have been missed.

DAAs are also helpful for travellers as each medication is identifiable and the bulk of multiple boxes or bottles is reduced. If you wish to start a patient on a DAA, please send a medication summary along with any prescriptions needed to give to their pharmacist.

Staged Supply allows for the provision of PBS medicines in instalments as requested by the prescriber. The frequency can be daily, weekly, fortnightly or as otherwise requested. A prescriber only needs to annotate their wishes on the prescription and this will be followed by the pharmacist. This service can be used for any patient, but may be particular useful patients with mental illness or drug dependency issues.

In most cases, the patient only needs to pay for the usual cost of their medication.

Medication Management Programs include Home Medicine Reviews (HMRs) and MedsChecks/Diabetes MedsChecks. A HMR is completed in the patient’s home and is a comprehensive clinical review of a patient’s medicines performed by an accredited pharmacist.

This service requires a written referral from the GP and the patient is able to choose their accredited pharmacist. The accredited pharmacist will provide a written report to the prescriber along with any recommendations to be discussed and reviewed at their next GP visit.

MedsChecks/Diabetes MedsChecks include a review of the patient’s medications, with a focus on education and self-management. They are performed within the pharmacy by the pharmacist. MedsChecks/Diabetes MedsChecks aim to identify and assist with any issues that the patient may be experiencing, such as side effects, poor adherence or issues with access to their medications. The service can also provide education on the patient’s medication and associated medical conditions, as well as how to best use and store their medicines.

In addition, Diabetes MedsChecks focus on the patient’s management of their diabetic condition, including their medications and any blood glucose monitoring devices. The patient will be given a copy of their MedsCheck/Diabetes MedsCheck which lists their medication, instructions for how to take, what the medication is for, as well as any additional information deemed necessary. A copy of this can be sent to the prescriber as requested or considered necessary.

A MedsChecks/Diabetes MedsChecks can be initiated by the patient or their carer, the pharmacist or the prescriber. If you wish for your patient to receive this service no formal paperwork is required but a medication summary is often useful. Issues identified during the MedsCheck/Diabetes MedsCheck process can be further explored via a HMR if required, as a MedsCheck/Diabetes MedsCheck does not preclude the HMR service from being performed.

Alannah Mann is a pharmacist at Terry White Chemmart Alstonville.