Address to APP2019

APP Conference 2019
The Panel: State of the Industry - Friday, 8 March

- Lindsay Forrest, Chairperson, ASMI

The ability of a patient to make responsible and informed choices when it comes to their own health and wellbeing is sometimes taken for granted by all of us who are engaged and immersed in healthcare.

Health literacy impacts the ability of an individual to read a medicine label, interpret instructions given by a doctor or pharmacist, consume and understand medicine and healthcare advertising and ultimately decide whether to visit a pharmacist, doctor or emergency department.

The fact that 60% of Australians, by last measure in 2006, have less than adequate health literacy is in our opinion, simply not good enough and needs to improve. Similarly, 30% of emergency department presentations here in Queensland for ailments that a patient should be able to self-manage or treat with the assistance of a pharmacist demonstrates that we have a big health literacy problem in our community.

That's why, here at ASMI, we are calling upon government and all major stakeholders to make health literacy a national priority. It impacts all of us. And, as an industry, we stand ready to assist and contribute - but we need all healthcare professionals on board; having conversations; raising awareness of this issue.

Greater health literacy will lead to greater Self Care, and greater interaction with pharmacy - something that will no doubt result in improved health and wellbeing for all Australians.

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