Recent changes to the Program Rules for the provision of Home Medicine Reviews (HMR), Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMR), MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck services allow for these activities to be undertaken as a Telehealth service from 21st April 2020.
We are pleased to confirm that the PDL Non-Proprietor Pharmacists Liabilities Insurance Master Policy provides cover for HMRs, RMMRs, MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck when the service is provided in accordance with the Program Rules, as set out by the Pharmacy Programs Administrator. The policy cover extends to include telehealth HMRs, RMMRs, MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck services, as defined in the April 2020 Program Rules without any requirement for the member’s cover to be specifically endorsed or noted.
PDL reiterates that program rules and practice standards need to be followed at all times, with particular reference to the criteria to qualify for a telehealth service. PDL refers pharmacists to relevant resources provided by representative and regulatory organisations.
Each opportunity to undertake a telehealth service needs to have a risk-benefit assessment to ensure that the means of consultation is suitable for the client and pharmacy and the risk of oversight, omission or miscommunication is minimised. Documentation supporting the decision to undertake the service via telehealth should be saved. If there is an inability to communicate clearly and professionally with a client then the telehealth option should not be used and the reasons for this decision documented.
The means of telehealth communication must be considered to ensure it is undertaken in a secure and private manner to minimise the risk of a breach of privacy or confidentiality. The Commonwealth Department of Health suggests telehealth can be provided through video calling apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Duo, GoToMeeting and others. PDL reminds pharmacists to review the security standards of any platform and preferably use secure platforms utilising high levels of protection such as encryption and invitation-only formats where control of access is visible and suitably managed.
Pandemic sub-register cover
The Pharmacy Board of Australia recently announced the establishment of a short-term pandemic response sub-register, to fast-track the return to the workforce of experienced and qualified previously registered and registered but non-practicing pharmacists. In response, to facilitate the requirement to comply with your professional indemnity insurance requirements, we are offering free PI cover to those on the temporary sub-register for the next six months.
Please contact us on 1300 854 838 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to update your membership and PI cover.
More information that may be of benefit to those members returning to practise is available across our website, including current practice issues in our Practice Alerts and resources such as the Guide to Good Dispensing. Our Professional Officers are also available to speak to for support.
We are here to support pharmacists playing a vital role in assisting the community at this time. We understand that many pharmacists and staff are working extremely hard and under significant pressure to ensure their patients receive the best possible care and support. Thank you for all that you are doing to ensure the safety of our community.
We are still operating remotely and can continue to support our members with incident support and advice 24/7, Australia-wide. PDL members can speak to a Professional Officer or Member Services Officer by calling 1300 854 838 or emailing email@example.com. They can also access our recent Practice Alerts on managing aggressive behaviour and preparing for increased demand for vaccinations by logging in to the member portal.
Watch a replay of the PSA webinar COVID-19: How to look after yourself recorded on 6 May 2020 and open to all pharmacists. PSA National President Chris Freeman, Kay Dunkley from PSS and PDL Professional Officer Gary West discuss how to avoid burnout and techniques to de-escalate conflict with patients.
PDL would like to remind pharmacists the regulators have expectations that legislation and standards are followed even in challenging times. Please be mindful of these obligations and, if uncertain, contact the regulator, representative bodies or PDL.
For information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), call the Australian Government's National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
The following links offer excellent resources and materials for pharmacists about COVID-19:
- The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Coronavirus information
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Coronavirus information for pharmacists
- SHPA COVID-19 information hub
- The Commonwealth Department of Health COVID-19 resources for health professionals
- Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws
- Pharmacy owners are encouraged to go to the Guild Insurance website for further information.
To talk to someone:
For immediate advice and incident support, PDL members can call us on 1300 854 838 to speak with one of our Professional Officers. We are here to support our pharmacist members 24/7, Australia-wide.
You can also contact the Pharmacists Support Service on 1300 244 910 for peer support related to the demands of being a pharmacist in Australia during this challenging time.