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Successful gout project is a model for wider use - Pharmacy Guild

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Guild is actively seeking DHBs to partner in reaching people suffering from gout after the successful outcome of its gout project in Counties Manukau.

The project was a six week trial undertaken in partnership with Counties Manukau DHB. During the trial in March and April, 30 pharmacies participated in a campaign to demonstrate the important role of community pharmacists in managing patients with gout. Community pharmacists are ideally placed to play an increased role in diagnosing, treating and creating awareness of gout in the community.

Gout occurs disproportionately among Maori and Pacific Island men in New Zealand. South Auckland has some of the highest incidence of gout in the country - estimated at 10 percent for Maori men and 15 percent for Pacific Island men.

During the project, participating pharmacies were given resources and training to help their staff recognise the symptoms and offer advice on treating those with the debilitating condition.

Gout has been identified as a condition where there is significant potential for community pharmacists to add value and demonstrate their worth in terms of medicines management, intervention opportunities and health promotion

Guild chief executive Annabel Young says community pharmacists in New Zealand are not well recognised for the role they play in primary healthcare and the contribution they make to health outcomes.

"Gout is tricky to manage because the patient has to keep taking the medicine even when the symptoms have eased or when there is no immediate improvement after starting the medicine.

"The gout project is an example of how community pharmacy can help. Feedback from patients has been very positive. Given the extreme incidence of gout in Counties Manukau, it was an obvious choice to run the trial here, although the intention is to take the project to a national level."

The project was developed in consultation with key groups already working in the area of gout management and prevention, including Arthritis New Zealand, Counties Manukau DHB and Middlemore Hospital.

"In the long term, better management of gout symptoms is expected to benefit the DHBs as it will reduce the numbers of patients presenting at the hospital with extreme cases and pain issues."

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