Pharmacists in Australian general practice: Discussion of the findings of an evaluation from 2016 to 2021

Louise S. Deeks, Mark Naunton, Gregory M. Peterson, Thilini Sudeshika, Christopher Freeman, Ravi Sharma, Stacy Leavens, Sam Kosari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pharmacists embedded in general practice can improve medicines optimisation and patient safety, but Australia has been slower to adopt and fund this model than other comparable countries. Over the last decade there have been various local programs integrating pharmacists in general practice across Australia. This article summarises the results of an evaluation in Canberra from 2016–2021. Pharmacists predominantly conducted clinical activities, including medication reviews and clinical audits. General practitioner (GP) acceptance and implementation of medication review recommendations was high (75%). General practice pharmacists were able to achieve positive clinical outcomes in asthma and smoking cessation. Surveys and interviews identified that the general practice pharmacist role was welcomed by patients, GPs, and other healthcare professionals. Patient satisfaction was very high, with patients supporting the expansion of this pharmacy service. Collaboration between the pharmacists and other healthcare professionals was high. Some pharmacists left employment in general practice after less than a year. Introducing a clear job description could be beneficial in retaining pharmacists, improving trust and working relationships, and enhancing collaboration. The majority of clinical activities conducted by the pharmacists had the potential to improve patient care and decrease healthcare costs. Apart from healthcare savings, benefit–cost ratios of income generated and costs reduced by pharmacists when compared to salaries suggested that pharmacists may be cost-beneficial in some scenarios. Absence of funding for this model of care remains a barrier to wider adoption in Australia and needs addressing. This study was approved by the University of Canberra Human Research Ethics Committee (Project number: 15–235) and funded under the Primary Health Network Program (Grant number: 25097479).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2023


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