Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist June 2012 Contents Australian Pharmacist June 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 445
The good news from the May 2012 Budget
is not just that pharmacy got through pretty
much unscathed, but that it was, as Treasurer
Wayne Swan said, truly a Labor budget.
By that he meant it focused on those
Australians who need a bit of a helping hand
now and then so they can continue to look
Forecasters predicted it would be a horror
budget and big business still probably thinks
it is because of the slugs it took and the
expected tax breaks it didn't get, but, despite
the usual pre-Budget leaks, there were some
welcome surprises there for families.
Notably, the National Disability Insurance
Scheme is a commitment to those
Australians with signi cant and permanent
disability from a Government determined
to show it cares for everyone, not just those
with the loudest voices.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott hated the
Budget because he knew it was popular.
He has previously said this would be a make
or break budget, with emphasis on the
A sigh of relief
By Mark Thornton
break, and predicted it would accelerate the
downhill slide for Labor till he defeated it
at the polls next year. But the Government,
though appearing for the past six months or
so to be staggering like a bewildered boxer,
has managed to come out of its corner with
balanced steps and looks more like the
pugilist its supporters voted for.
This budget, and the way the Government
has handled criticisms of it since 8 May,
might just woo back those wavering
Labor voters it was aimed at and who the
Government claims to represent.
Overall, health generally didn't come out
of the budget melee too badly. And, as PSA
Chief Executive O cer Liesel Wett noted,
pharmacy did pretty well -- just look at the
$234m boost to ensure the continuing
rollout of e-health.
On Budget Night Ms Wett said: 'We...
thought that a year without cuts to our patch
of healthcare -- the CPA and other associated
funding to support pharmacy practice --
would be a win. I'm happy to report, we got
that win tonight.'
High up the list of wins was the $515.3M
investment in a dental program for
vulnerable Australians. Oral health is an
issue about which patients will often seek
advice from their pharmacists, which is why
many pharmacies already have oral health
promotions prominently displayed behind
Another opening for pharmacists would
come from the new move to allow
audiologists to bill direct to Medicare, a big
saving for patients who will no longer need a
Then there was the unexpected tough line
on the therapeutic goods industry with
tighter controls placed on its conduct --
the Government obviously took heed last
year's Australian National Audit O ce report
on the TGA and the industry -- an increased
investment of nearly $50 million for the
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program,
and the particularly pleasing investment in
the Personally Controlled Electronic Health
Record (PCEHR) over the next two years so
the PCEHR can become part of pharmacists'
every day practice and provide strong
support for patient care.
Despite the direct billing audiological
initiative, even the Royal Australasian College
of GPs welcomed the e-health investment,
albeit cautiously, with College President
Professor Claire Jackson saying: 'The College
notes the continuation of the ePIP for
practices participating in PCEHR.'
The Consumer Health Forum is another
stalwart representative body which does not
give praise freely, but for this Budget CEO
Carol Bennett was highly complimentary.
'This Budget has ensured that access to
necessary healthcare is not compromised
by major cuts. We have achieved signi cant
new funding for critical parts of healthcare
in a very tight budget. The new health
expenditure will pay a real dividend for all
of us by promoting a healthier and more
productive Australia,' Ms Bennett said.
Even the heading on the CHF media release
was jaunty: 'Less plastic -- more teeth:
a healthy budget outcome!'
It would seem the government accepted
the PSA's arguments in its pre-Budget
submission that the profession had already
su ered its fair share of cuts as part of the
government's PBS changes, cuts that had
caused uncertainty in the profession.
Acting PSA President, Dr Claire O'Reilly
succinctly summed up pharmacy's reaction
to the Budget: '(It) gives the profession and
the Government the opportunity to work
more closely together to ful l the aims of
the health-reform agenda while improving
and building on the range of professional
services delivered by pharmacists.'
Mark Thornton is a Canberra-based
journalist and was a member of
the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery
for many years.
Any opinions expressed are
not necessarily those of PSA,
its Board or staff.
Links Archive Australian Pharmacist July 2012 Australian Pharmacist May 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page