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Budget offers security for community pharmacy but misses mark on pharmacists’ primary healthcare role

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May 9, 2017

The Federal Budget provides financial sustainability for community pharmacy owners but is a missed opportunity for maximising and enhancing the overall role of pharmacists in Australia’s health system, the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said tonight.

PSA strongly welcomed the Federal Government’s allocation of $210 million over three years for community pharmacies as compensation for reduced remuneration from prescription volumes that were lower than expected under the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA).

Pharmacists also welcomed the $600 million, as part of the 6CPA, for community pharmacy programs, including medication management services designed to improve consumer health.

PSA National Vice President Michelle Lynch said: “Pharmacists welcome the strong investment by the Federal Government in Australia’s vital and established community pharmacy network.

“Whilst the commitment to community pharmacy programs is excellent news for pharmacists and consumers, there is a significant opportunity missed in the Budget for further maximising the role of pharmacists – the most accessible health professionals in Australia – especially in terms of innovation and delivering new, evidence-based services.”

As part of the $600 million, community pharmacy programs which have been supported include:

  • Dose Administration Aids – providing Government-funded DAAs to eligible chronically ill patients – ($340m)
  • Staged Supply – ($80m)
  • Expansion of MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck program – ($90m)
  • Home Medicines Reviews, including follow up services in community pharmacy – ($60m)
  • Incorporating medication management programs within Health Care Homes (HCH) – ($30m).

Ms Lynch said: “These investments, according to the 6CPA, seek to ‘improve clinical outcomes and extend the role of the pharmacist in the delivery of primary health care’.

“Apart from the HCH program, all of these are programs currently being delivered under the 6CPA.  This funding, while a welcome and celebrated investment, was intended to flow from outcomes of the Pharmacy Trial Program (PTP).  So far, only one of three trials announced in March 2016 has commenced.

“If we are to see innovation and broadening the role of pharmacists in Australia to benefit consumers, how will this now be funded and scaled up after the trials as intended?”

“Secondly, the Agreement earmarked this $600 million to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and rural consumers, who have the highest needs in our health system. How will this now be achieved?”

Tonight, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt also announced his vision for health reform over the next three years as part of the Government’s Long Term National Health Plan, including a statement that he has entered into a partnership with pharmacists.

“Establishing a genuine partnership with pharmacists and PSA – as the peak national body for all pharmacists – will support the Minister in achieving the Government’s plan,” Ms Lynch said.


Media contact:   Brad Watts
Executive Director, Communications
0487 922 176

This item is listed in the following categories: • 2017 media releasesMedia releasesNews


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