Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist January 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 15
pharmacy sector delivering quality health
services to all Australians.
The real power of pharmacy lies in the
collective skills, passion and commitment
of the people who work in our sector.
When you look at the experience of
pharmacy in comparable countries, what
is most striking is that we all face similar
challenges of dealing with governments
that constantly want more for less but
underestimate the capacity of pharmacies
to drive wider health reforms by delivering
more cost effective outcomes for patients.
The harsh reality is that the unrelenting
push by cash-poor governments to reduce
medicine reimbursement prices paid to
pharmacies will continue unabated.
The most fundamental learning of all is
that governments and pharmacies must
work in a partnership that focuses on
utilising pharmacists' clinical expertise
to achieve the best health outcomes
for patients in ways that deliver real
value-for-money for taxpayers.
In that context, pharmacies need to realise
that traditional ways of doing business
will no longer suffice. To emphasise
the point, pharmacies must become
multi-functional, community-based health
destinations that are highly efficient
and truly IT enabled, with pharmacists
transforming themselves into
personalised medicine services experts
rather than solely as medicine suppliers.
Governments must recognise that
pharmacists are the most under utilised
of all health professionals and have the
fortitude to break down the silos and the
fiefdoms that, for too long, have held back
the potential for patient-focussed primary
health care reform.
The transformation of community
pharmacy will not be easy and there will
be considerable pain along the way, but
it is a challenge that cannot be shirked.
This year, 2014, will be crucial to the future
shape of pharmacy.
We must never forget that Australia's
network of 5,300 community pharmacies
is an invaluable health asset that must be
maintained and strengthened.
As we enter the New Year, I feel quite strongly that the nature of the
challenges we face in pharmacy demands a united approach from the
profession -- now, more than ever.
With the relentless assaults on the
supply model through accelerated price
disclosure, and a range of other issues
including the challenge of negotiating a
Sixth Agreement, it is vital that we are able
to go to Government as a united profession
proposing solutions of genuine benefit to
health care consumers.
While there have been differences in the
past among pharmacy organisations and
groups, we need to be mindful of our
common objectives as a sector.
I think I can assume that we all want
pharmacy businesses that continue to
be viable and successful. We all want
pharmacists and pharmacy assistants to
have rewarding careers.
We all want to maintain the high levels of
professional standards that underpin the
public trust and support that our sector
enjoys. We all want increased opportunities
for pharmacies to broaden the services
they provide and for pharmacists to
make maximum use of their clinical
skills, collaboratively with other health
And importantly, we all want to make
sure that Australians continue to derive
maximum health benefits from the high
quality services that pharmacies and
On their face, these might seem like
unremarkable statements but together
they are the foundation upon which we
can build the future of pharmacy together.
I happen to believe that Australia has the
best system of community pharmacy in the
world. But if it is to survive and continue
to flourish, it must adapt to the challenges
of the rapidly changing environment. It is
not too dramatic to say that we need a
new model of pharmacy, but we must also
arrive at that new model in an orderly way
that does not unnecessarily jeopardise
businesses, livelihoods and careers.
Pharmacies must be health destinations;
health hubs. Pharmacists must see
themselves first and foremost as qualified
health practitioners, focused on providing
personalised patient care as well as the
highest quality supply and management
Pharmacy must reposition itself from the
edges into the heart of the primary health
care system, securing new public and
private revenue streams. The success of this
business and professional transformation
task will ultimately determine the future
of pharmacy and requires the urgent
attention of the entire pharmacy sector.
The Guild is devoted to this task and will
work with everyone who shares the goal
of a strong and successful community
A united front
BY PHARMACY GUILD NATIONAL PRESIDENT, GEORGE TAMBASSIS
BE OUR GUEST
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