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PSA welcomes new
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has welcomed the
appointment of Sussan Ley as the new Minister for Health and Sport.
PSA National President Grant Kardachi
said Minister Ley was taking over the
portfolio at a critical time for consumers
and health professionals.
Mr Kardachi said that negotiations were
about to get underway for the Sixth
Community Pharmacy Agreement which
was pivotal to the future of the whole
healthcare system in Australia.
He said that Minister Ley's first priority
had to be to ensure the sustainability
of the community pharmacy sector,
and also to make certain the network
of pharmacies and the range of
professional pharmacist services were
'However, we must also look outside
the Agreement to other areas where
pharmacists can use their skills to
deliver a wider range of health services
in primary and preventive care,'
Mr Kardachi said.
'For example, there is strong evidence,
as well as support from the medical
profession, for progressing the role of
pharmacists in GP surgeries. In addition,
we must ensure that communities in
rural and remote areas are not lagging.
This is an area PSA has for many years
been urging governments to address.
'Access to pharmacists and health
services is not just an urban right --
it is a right every member of every
community should expect. Our 6CPA
discussion paper highlights just some
strategies that Minister Ley should
consider in improving medicine access
and quality use of medicines in rural and
'We look forward to working closely
with Minister Ley and the Government
to help ensure we have a sustainable
healthcare system into the future,'
Mr Kardachi said.
Top end melioidosis warning
The Northern Territory Government
warned last month that 21 melioidosis
cases and one death had been confirmed
so far this wet season.
With continued monsoonal rains the NT
Centre for Disease Control expected the
number of confirmed cases to rise daily.
The Centre has warned that contact with
mud, groundwater and aerosolised soil
during the wet season increases the
chance of exposure to the potentially fatal
bacteria that causes melioidosis and the
contact is not just confined to the garden.
Centre Director, Dr Vicki Krause said more
cases were expected as the time from
infection to acute disease is from one to
21 days and the recent rain would have put
many at risk.
'Exposure is often from just walking
unprotected across muddy paths and
flooded backyards or through surface
water while walking around town or on
a construction site. Being outside during
windy, wet conditions can also provide
an opportunity for exposure to airborne
bacteria and it is important that people
at increased risk of getting melioidosis
stay indoors during heavy wind and rain,'
Dr Krause said that while melioidosis was
uncommon in the Centre, cases have
occurred following floods -- such as the
six cases of melioidosis that were notified
after the floods in 2011. With the current
floods, residents in the Centre should also
protect themselves from contact with mud
and surface water. Hospital staff have been
alerted to people possibly presenting with
melioidosis in the coming days and weeks.
'Most cases have conditions making
them more susceptible so people
need to be aware of these conditions
and modify them where possible.
People who consume large amounts of
alcohol or binge drink are at increased
risk of melioidosis as wells as people
with diabetes and those with weaker
immune systems, including people with
kidney disease, lung disease and those
undergoing cancer or steroid treatments.
'It is also important that people new to
the Territory are aware of this disease,
melioidosis, and take precautions where
possible and seek medical attention should
symptoms develop. Symptoms such as
fever, cough and breathing difficulties
are most common for melioidosis but
presentations can vary greatly.'
Melioidosis bacteria live deep in the soil
during the dry season but after rain, larger
amounts of the bacteria are brought to the
surface and this poses a risk of exposure.
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