Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist Sept 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist September 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Grant Kardachi MPS
A great deal of focus is currently being directed towards the start of
negotiations for the next Community Pharmacy Agreement, due to come into
effect in July 2015.
The Agreements are the life blood of
community pharmacy. The Fifth Agreement
allocated $15.4 billion over the life of the
Agreement for about 5,000 community
pharmacies for dispensing PBS medicines,
providing pharmacy programs and services,
and for the Community Services Obligation
arrangements with pharmaceutical
wholesalers. A commitment to maintaining
location rules for approved pharmacies is
also provided in the Agreement.
However, that Agreement did not come
without pain and saw a $1 billion cut
in government spending, a pain felt
throughout the whole pharmacy sector. In
the current economic environment we can
expect the government to look for more and
perhaps greater cuts in the next Agreement
which is why the negotiations for the sixth
Agreement will start early in the next year
and they undoubtedly will be robust.
But we don't need to sit back and wait for
the next Agreement to build and strengthen
the pharmacy profession in this difficult
environment and a clear area where we can
act now is to emphasise to governments
and decision-makers the need to more fully
utilise the skills and expertise of pharmacists
in primary care.
This was highlighted in PSA's recent election
document, Australians stay healthier PSA's
call to action on chronic disease in which
we sought to bring home the fact that
pharmacists can play a much greater role in
the prevention, treatment and management
of a range of chronic conditions including
diabetes, asthma, cardio vascular disease
and mental illness.
All of these conditions are placing increasing
demands on the healthcare system which
in turn leads to significant healthcare costs
associated with medicines, diagnostic
services, aged care, medical services and in
particular, hospital expenses.
In our document we point out that
the Commonwealth Government has
acknowledged these problems in its
National Health and Hospitals Reform
Commission report, A Healthier Future For
All Australians, in which a commitment
was made to provide more integrated and
connected care for patients across the
health and aged care system, through the
National Health Reform Agreement.
While this is to be welcomed, more can be
done and one way we can start, and start
now, is making the most of pharmacists
and their teams. I am constantly amazed
and disappointed that we have to keep
reminding Governments that we are here
and can do a whole lot more to help,
particularly in the area of prevention.
A good example is in the area of diabetes.
A recent report by the Australian Institute
of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed
a big increase in spending on diabetes
over recent years. Diabetes expenditure
in Australia 2008--09, shows spending on
diabetes rose by 86% between 2000-01 and
2008-09 and allocated health-care spending
on diabetes was around $1.5 billion in
2008-09, or 2.3% of all allocated healthcare
expenditure in Australia. This is an area
of health spending that needs to be
addressed, and pharmacists can make a
big contribution in preventing the onset of
the disease. We have numerous resources
that allow us to work with customers,
consumers and the community as a whole
to help prevent diabetes. These resources
can include educational campaigns,
community programs, our reinvigorated
Self Care program and in-pharmacy
counselling and advice.
This would be constructively using our
position as being among the most trusted
and accessible professionals in Australia.
We are highly qualified health professionals
yet our skills, knowledge and expertise
are all-too-often under-recognised and
under-utilised, despite constant cries from all
sectors of the community across Australia for
While we will be seeking to have our
role in primary care -- particularly in the
provision of professional services through
pharmacies -- more fully recognised in the
next Agreement, we would be failing our
profession and our consumers if we didn't
take the opportunity to make greater impact
We can and must start now and individual
pharmacies have great opportunities to
be flag bearers in our push for greater
recognition of pharmacists' skills.
We can do so much more in areas such
as the quality use of medicines, HMRs,
cardio vascular disease, diabetes, smoking
cessation, obesity -- the list goes on and on.
But it's up to us to act.
As we point out in our Australians stay
healthier PSA's call to action on chronic
disease, community pharmacies are uniquely
placed within Australian communities, and
are increasingly being recognised as a hub
for preventive health activities. We have not
made use of the full potential of pharmacists
in this area, nor have we leveraged the
existing network and infrastructure provided
by Australia's 5,200 community pharmacies
to expand the scope of services.
In fact, PSA devoted extensive resources to
the development of our Health Destination
trial in which we examined models for the
future of community pharmacies in which
the delivery of professional services assumed
a much more prominent role.
We can implement many of these services
now -- we don't have to wait, not should
we wait, for the next Agreement. In fact, I
would suggest that doing more now gives
us a much stronger bargaining position
going into the next Agreement negotiations.
If we can show we have runs on the
board, that we know how to effectively
implement and run these services, and
that there is a demonstrable health benefit
for the community then it would be hard
for any reasoned Government to ignore
THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT SAYS
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