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Hundreds to benefit from pharmacy-led warfarin service

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

14 February 2014

Hundreds more patients to benefit from pharmacy-led warfarin service

Health Minister Tony Ryall says hundreds more patients with heart disease will be supported by their local pharmacist to manage their blood thinning medication, warfarin.

“50 extra community pharmacies have recently signed up to provide warfarin management for their patients – this brings the total number of pharmacies offering this convenient service to 125,” says Mr Ryall.

“More than 2,000 patients are currently using the pharmacy-led warfarin service – and with 50 more community pharmacies on board this number will continue to grow.

“The service, provided in partnership with GPs, allows patients to have a finger-prick blood test taken in their local pharmacy, rather than having to visit their GP or a laboratory. The results are available immediately and the pharmacist can adjust the patient’s warfarin dosage then and there.

“This service not only makes greater use of pharmacists' skills and frees up GPs and practice nurses to see other people – it is also changing the lives of patients taking warfarin,” says Mr Ryall.

Bryce Sherson, of Clarks Pharmacy in Waihi, says one of his patients had struggled for three years to manage her warfarin use and was referred by her GP for the pharmacy-led service.

“The patient found giving blood difficult and had started avoiding health services – which made it a challenge to ensure her warfarin dosage was correct,” says Mr Sherson.

“I explained the dangers of not getting her dosage right, and how easy it could be to manage her medication through the pharmacy-based service. She’s now coming in regularly for a finger-prick blood test and is in the target zone for her warfarin dosage more than 90 per cent of the time,” says Mr Sherson.

Mr Ryall said this is a great example of pharmacists and GPs working together to improve the health of their patients.

The National-led government introduced the pharmacy-led warfarin service in 2010. Enhancing the role of pharmacists in primary care is one of the policy initiatives agreed in the National and United Future confidence and supply agreement.

A list of the 50 extra community pharmacies who have recently signed up to provide warfarin management for their patients is available here.

ENDS

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