Chemist shops are the right place to get your medicines and receive medication advice, but they are the wrong place to get a blood test.
AMCAL chemists are offering customers pathology tests at a cost of up to $220.
Ordering a test through a pharmacy chain rather than your local GP creates risks for patients including fragmentation of care, unnecessary duplication of tests, confusion about the interpretation of the results and increased out-of-pocket costs.
It may lead to incorrect, incomplete and unnecessary tests as well as wrong conclusions and false reassurance.
A pathology test should be recommended based on a medical assessment which may include your personal medical history, symptoms and a physical examination. Pharmacists do not have the diagnostic skills required to provide this kind of care safely.
AMCAL customers will be paying out-of pocket and are not eligible for a Medicare rebate. For example, a vitamin D blood test will cost $89.50, a ‘fatigue screening’ $149.50 and a ‘general health screening’ $219.50.
Our Australian Medicare system reimburses patients for a range of pathology tests after an appropriate assessment by a doctor.
The standard packages sold by AMCAL may not include the tests that are required for your unique circumstances or health problems.
We really need better integration of health services in Australia. We need pharmacies to work together with GP teams, not introduce more commercially driven duplication and fragmentation of services.
Pharmacists add value when it comes to medication management and safety, but they are not adequately trained to give advice either before or after a blood test.
Ordering a pathology test through the chemist is like getting your car checked at the lawn mower shop. Nothing wrong with the lawn mower shop but it just isn’t the right place.