Health Minister David Clark officially opens the new pharmacy clinic together with (from left) University of Otago Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville, Southern DHB Deputy Commissioner Richard Thomson and School of Pharmacy Dean, Professor Carlo Marra.
The University of Otago and Southern District Health Board have received high praise from health leaders at the official opening of a new pharmacy clinic, the first of its kind in Australasia.
The new outpatient clinic, a joint venture between both the University and DHB, aims to assist people on multiple medications to help them manage their medicines and improve their health. It also provides learning opportunities for pharmacy students who will have opportunities to experience modern patient-focused care in the clinic.
School of Pharmacy Dean Professor Carlo Marra says the new clinic is believed to be a first in Australasia, in terms of a School of Pharmacy operating its own outpatient clinic.
"Your new clinic is an excellent example of that innovation and I want to congratulate you for deciding to establish it to offer extra help for people in our community to maintain their wellbeing and health."
Health Minister David Clark officially opened the clinic last Friday, congratulating the University and DHB for their innovation in developing local solutions for people with complex health needs to reduce inequities – one of the Government's priorities.
“We know that early intervention and prevention, the cornerstones of primary care, lead to better health outcomes for people and can help take pressure off our hospitals and specialist services,” Dr Clark says.
“Your new clinic will have an important role in this early intervention and prevention for the people in our community,” Dr Clark says.
He congratulated the School of Pharmacy for its “innovative thinking” and “enthusiasm”.
“Your new clinic is an excellent example of that innovation and I want to congratulate you for deciding to establish it to offer extra help for people in our community to maintain their wellbeing and health.”
Southern DHB has committed to funding a full-time pharmacist to run the clinic for patients referred from Dunedin Hospital while Professional Practice Fellows – pharmacists employed by the School of Pharmacy - will also be invited to practise in the clinic.
DHB Deputy Commissioner Richard Thomson told the gathering the Southern region has one of the highest rates of polypharmacy (people taking a large number of medications) in the country. The only way of making inroads with this is by working in new ways together, he says.
"Both will benefit this community and I am very pleased to be here on behalf of the DHB to say 'thank you and 'best wishes'."
“A team will get the best outcome…. DHB with University. GP with pharmacist. Health is a complex business. It is almost always multi-factorial and solutions often fail because they focus on symptoms only,” Mr Thomson says.
“Good solutions focus on systems and the way they interact. This initiative is about pharmacy interaction and drug management – and it is about systems of working together. Both will benefit this community and I am very pleased to be here on behalf of the DHB to say 'thank you and 'best wishes'.”
The University funded the development of the new clinic, which is housed in the School of Physiotherapy. University Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville QC thanked the DHB for its assistance in developing a “first class facility” and the University's Property Services' team for their “excellent work” and for completing the project on time and within budget.
The new clinic has several consultation rooms with space for pharmacists, patients and students, a reception and waiting area and storage for equipment and consumables.