The Morrison Government has responded immediately to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care, by delivering a united agreement from Health Ministers to that will deliver better management of medication in Aged Care.
Health Ministers meeting in Perth today agreed to recognise Quality Use of Medicine and Medicine Safety to be a National Health Priority.
I welcome and acknowledge the cooperation of all State and Territory Health Ministers to improve the management of medicines and in particular, focusing on their use in residential aged care.
The interim report released yesterday by the Aged Care Royal Commission described a ‘history of neglect’ in the use of medication as a chemical restraint on aged care patients.
There have been stories about how people with dementia are too often given medication without consent and for prolonged periods of time.
I have commissioned a national baseline report on Quality Use of Medicines and Medicines Safety that will inform new best practice models, new national standards and better medication management.
Health Ministers agreed that it was essential to improve medication management for those in aged care as well as medicines safety in hospital and the community.
Each day more than 9 million Australians take a prescribed medicine to treat or prevent disease. However, medication errors can cause serious harm.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s 2019 report Medicine Safety: Take Care estimated that there are over 650,000 avoidable admissions to emergency department and hospitals due to medication-related problems
Medication-related harm are broad and frequently remain hidden. An aging population with increasing co-morbidities and complicated treatment options further increase the risks of medication-related harms.
Declaring Quality Use of Medicine and Medicine Safety a National Health Priority Area will bring bipartisan support to this important area.
I welcome the focus of the Royal Commission on this issue and whilst it foreshadows further recommendations in their final report, it is clear about the need for immediate action.
On 1 July 2019, we took action by delivering new Aged Care Quality Standards that put explicit obligations on residential aged care providers about the use of restraint.
We have instituted powers to pursue those who don’t comply and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will be able to go as far as revoking accreditation of services doing the wrong thing.
The Chief Medical officer is communicating directly with the prescribers on their obligations.
We have already publicly acknowledged the importance of pharmacists in medication management in Aged Care as an issue for discussion as part of the current negotiations on the next Community Pharmacy Agreement.
COAG Health Council Communique will be available at: https://www.coag.gov.au/