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Chronic pain drug check

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019

Outback Pharmacies’ Andrew Johnson discusses medications with John Coff. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Outback Pharmacies’ Andrew Johnson discusses medications with John Coff. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

From today, Outback Pharmacies will be running free Chronic Pain MedsCheck services as part of a nationwide trial.

MedsCheck is a federal government-funded service that allows customers to discuss their medications one-on-one with a pharmacist.

The regular MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck services have been running for several years and are aimed at helping customers increase their knowledge of, and confidence in using, prescribed medications.

Outback Pharmacies’ Andrew Johnson said the chronic pain consultations will not just help with better medication planning, but also discuss what customers can do and which sepcialists to see, to better manage their pain.

“The services are called a Pain Wise MedsCheck service, and we’re one of the trial sites,” he said. 

“So for those with chronic pain, which is someone who’s had pain for three months or more, they’ll be able to sit down with their pharmacist and develop a bit of a plan regarding their pain, specifically looking at their medications.

“However, as professionals we know that medications aren’t the most important thing when looking at chronic pain. It’s more about the other things you do. 

“Even though we’re the medicine experts, what we’ll mostly be doing in a Pain Wise MedsCheck consultation is talking about all the other things that someone can be doing.

“That includes movement, (and discussions surrounding) whether they’ve seen a physio recently or their GP.

“GPs are important because they have some options around management plans and that sort of thing.

“So the service will involve a consultation with your pharmacist, where we talk about medications and all the other things that are important for pain management.

“As well as discussing how other people, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and GPs can help out, and where the customer can access their services for further help.

“The consultations will give someone the information and tools they need to help manage their condition better.

“About three months afterwards they’ll have a follow up as well, where we’ll run through everything again and have a look at how their pain is being managed.”

Mr Johnson said due to the fact the service was being trialled, only a set amount of consultations could be administered.

“Each store is only allowed to have a certain number of customers sign up for these,” he said.

“So if someone is interested in a consultation, I’d suggest they don’t leave it too long.

“We’ve organised to staff the pharmacies on certain days with an extra pharmacist so that these can occur. That’s why the appointment is so important.

“To book one in, just drop into or call one of the pharmacies and arrange a time for an appointment.”

Mr Johnson said that having someone with expertise in this area was incredibly beneficial as well.

“For this trial we all have to do extra training, so additional training on top of our normal degrees,” he said.

“But one of our pharmacists, Alex Page, has also done a Masters in Pain Management and he’ll be one of the pharmacists undertaking the MedsCheck trials

“We’re very lucky in that we’ve got someone of such high quality in Broken Hill, because I think there’s only one other pharmacist in Australia that’s done pain management training to that level.”

The free consultations will take place at Good Price Pharmacy, CP Peoples and Tembys. To book an appointment either visit one of the pharmacies or call them on their respective lines of 8087 2266, 8087 3326 or 8087 3452.

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