AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has said it is disgraceful the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath have failed to consult with First Nations communities in North Queensland about the proposal to allow pharmacists to diagnose, treat, prescribe and sell medications for 23 serious conditions including asthma, diabetes and lung disease without any medical training or oversight.
Pharmacists will undertake the equivalent of three weeks of online training to do the work of GPs, who train for 10 to 12 years.
In North Queensland this week to listen to the concerns of doctors and communities, Dr Khorshid said there was a huge shortage of pharmacists in North Queensland and the trial was a political solution, not a health solution.
“It is against the strongly stated views of all expert medical groups in Queensland, but the Premier is sticking to her promises made behind closed doors, implying that generous political donors have more impact on policy in Queensland than professional organisations.
“I visited the Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service in Yarrabah, just south of Cairns, where doctors, nurses, pharmacists, public health workers, Aboriginal health workers and Queensland Health employees work together to address the health needs of their community in a model that works.”
Dr Khorshid said a community pharmacist was embedded in the health centre.
“I was shocked to be told by these hardworking GPs and allied healthcare workers that not only is their community targeted as a site for the pharmacy prescribing trial, but that the Premier and Health Minister have not been to Yarrabah in this term of government, if at all.
“No-one has bothered to ask the patients, doctors and allied healthcare workers in Yarrabah, or anywhere else in North Queensland, if they need or want the prescribing trial.
“This is an issue of concern to every doctor, no matter their geography or their specialty. The AMA will be launching a national survey of doctors to seek their views on this proposal, because it is a pilot in name only.”