Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist October 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist October 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Health Minister Peter Dutton must have inwardly breathed a sigh of relief
when, on 8 September, Lateline presenter, Emma Alberici, stopped asking
him about the $7 GP co-payment and started asking about the Sixth
Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA).
The co-payment has dominated the
health headlines for months and none
of it has been good for the Federal
Government. The change of topic must
have seemed like manna from heaven to
Perhaps Mr Dutton had been talking to
NSW National Party Senator John ‘Wacka’
Williams who had recently spoken in
support of community pharmacy in the
Senate. His comments certainly dovetailed
with the good Senator’s.
Senator Williams pointed out that
425 Australian towns have only one
‘ The sixth agreement between the
government and the Pharmacy Guild will
most likely start in July next year. It needs
to maintain, where possible, enhanced
existing regional programs,’ he said.
He then went on to point out that at
Inverell – his home town – he has seen five
pharmacies reduce to three.
‘It is vital,’ he said, ‘that pharmacies remain
viable financially. They are there to do
a service, and, of course, they are now
relying on delivering more services, such
as blood pressure tests and diabetes
tests – you name it. It is becoming a
one-stop shop for many in very, very small
communities, where they may have to
wait for weeks to see a doctor,’ Senator
Anyway, Mr Dutton’s positive comments
about community pharmacy must have
made many pharmacy owners’ ears burn
(in a comforting, glowing way).
His remarks about pharmacy ownership,
pharmacy location rules and the 6CPA
were a welcome respite for pharmacists
uneasy about the Government’s growing
list of back flips on election promises.
However, for all pharmacists, not
just pharmacy owners, there was an
interesting comment from Mr Dutton
which was overshadowed by his
comments supporting the status quo on
ownership and location rules. It provided a
positive insight to where the Government
may be heading with the 6CPA
Mr Dutton said there were more than
5,000 community pharmacies, ‘particularly
those that are in rural communities, where
there was very little presence by way of
primary health care otherwise, so they
provide a very important service.
‘ We want to provide support in a
transparent way; that is, we want to fund
measures that do benefit patients. I’m
hoping that we can find better ways of
supporting community pharmacy, and
most importantly, the patients who
benefit from having a good relationship
with the pharmacist, because we believe
very strongly in proper medication
management and the suite of services that
are provided by pharmacy otherwise.’
It all sounds fairly promising even if the
Government’s response to its Commission
of Audit Report could eventually deliver
some unpleasant surprises.
Pharmacy also received some qualified
support from the Consumer Health Forum
(CHF), often a critic of the Pharmacy Guild.
The CHF CEO Adam Stankevicius said: ‘ The
future of healthcare is increasingly moving
towards a consumer-centred and driven
service delivery, and CHF sees responsive
pharmacists in the community as an
integral component of delivering that type
‘CHF believes that consumers benefit from,
and appreciate, the ease of access, and the
personalised services such as medication
management and vaccinations, that they
can get from pharmacists in the community
without waiting for a GP appointment. It
is essential, however, that such services
be provided in a safe, confidential
environment.’ Mr Stankevicius said.
If pharmacy, the government and
consumers are in broad agreement then
the 6CPA could be very positive and very
interesting outcome for pharmacists.
Perhaps PSA President Grant Kardachi
should head up to Parliament House for a
cup of tea with Senator Williams and tell
him about the Society’s health destination
trial and its emphasis on pharmacists
providing health services.
Just don’t mention the $7 co-payment.
» CANBERRA COMMENTARY
BY ANDREW DANIELS
Andrew Daniels is Managing Editor of Australian
Pharmacist. Opinions expressed in this column are
not necessarily those of the Pharmaceutical Society,
its Board or staff.
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