NSW Community Pharmacy Palliative Care

The NSW Community Pharmacy Palliative Care Initiative aims to enhance palliative care services within NSW, through supporting the role of community pharmacy in improving medication management for people with palliative care needs.

Multidisciplinary team based palliative care is paramount to ensuring optimal and holistic palliative and end of life care, regardless of setting. The accessibility and the role of community pharmacists places them in an ideal position to assist in the delivery of community-based palliative care services.

Research has shown there are several key areas where community pharmacists may effectively contribute to community-based palliative care, including:

  • Conducting medication reviews
  • Provision of education and information to patients and their carers on the quality use of medicines
  • Consulting and collaborating with other health professionals to ensure continuity of patient care, and
  • Outlining symptom management protocols.

The NSW Community Pharmacy Palliative Care Initiative is a two-year project, led by the CEC. The project involved two key phases.

Phase 1

Throughout Phase 1, more than 100 diverse stakeholders were engaged through consultation including interviews, written submissions, workshops and focus groups. This phase captured a wide range of perspectives from government and non-government organisations, peak professional bodies, health services, consumers and health professionals across the tertiary, primary and community care settings.

Phase 1 Report and Attachments

Phase 2

Key findings from the Phase 1 consultation provided the framework for the development of strategic initiatives in Phase 2. These included the following:

Establishment of the Core palliative care medicines list for NSW community pharmacy

The Core Palliative Care Medicines List for NSW Community Pharmacy was supported by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, The Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Palliative Care Network Executive Committee, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (NSW Branch) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

<>It has been developed for NSW community pharmacists, General Practitioners and palliative care teams as a way of allowing community pharmacies to anticipate the medicines most likely to be prescribed, and enabling prescribers to anticipate the medicines most likely to be readily available in NSW community pharmacies. This list is not intended to restrict which medicines can be prescribed for individual patients.

factsheet is available to provide further information and answer frequently asked questions.

Development of an education package for NSW community pharmacy

The NSW Clinical Excellence Commission and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) developed and published an education package for community pharmacists to build their palliative care knowledge and capabilities. This was launched at the Palliative Care Workshop held in March 2019. This package is CPD accredited and free of charge. It can be accessed via the PSA website and Palliative Care: Essential CPE.

Expansion of specialist palliative care education programs

The Program of Experience in the Palliative Care Approach (PEPA) was expanded to include and support community pharmacists. PEPA forms part of the national palliative care education and training collaborative. PEPA aims to enhance the capacity of health professionals to deliver a palliative care approach through their participation in either clinical placements in specialist palliative care services or interactive workshops.

Further information


The NSW Clinical Excellence Commission acknowledges the contribution of the NSW Primary Health Networks, PEPA, PSA, ACI as well as all of the individuals and organisations who generously participated in and contributed to stakeholder consultations throughout Phase 1 of this initiative.