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Program to improve indigenous access to medicines.

A two-year pilot program aimed to improve QUM and medication compliance and support improved access to medicines by Indigenous Australians will go live next month. The Quality Use of Medicines Maximised for Aboriginal and Tortes Strait Islander Peoples (QUMAX) program is funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement. The program will provide structured support for QUM in Aboriginal Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), via community pharmacy, through the implementation of service-level QUM work plans over a two year period, beginning in July 2008.

The QUMAX program is a $10.9 million initiative between the Australian Government, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). NACCHO has lobbied for a program for several years to improve medication compliance and the quality use of medicines for Aboriginal and Tortes Strait Islander peoples. Seventy ACCHS in rural and urban areas who are ineligible to access medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme via the alternative access arrangements under Section 100 of the National Health Act, are eligible to participate in the program.

"QUMAX has been developed for those areas not covered by Section 100. It is a complex program but designed to be easily delivered at a grass roots level," QUMAX national manager for NACCHO Vicki Sheedy said. Development of QUMAX started last year and services registered last month. Work plans will be developed by ACCHS and QUM support pharmacists employed through the Pharmacy Guild of Australia by the end of this month with funding agreements and implementation to follow in coming months.

ACCHS will need to meet specific targets in addressing financial barriers, transport of medication for needy patients, urgent out-of-hours pharmacy services, dose administration aids, and recording of safety net entitlements. Ms Sheedy said the program was in line with the government's commitment to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. "We want to reduce the financial barriers to medications, improve transport arrangements for timely access and improve quality use of medicines education and training."
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Publication:Australian Nursing Journal
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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