Federal Budget 2023: Community pharmacies vital to strengthened primary healthcare
10 May 2023
Australia’s pharmacy profession is seeking a greater understanding of several major policy changes announced in the Federal Budget which will have a significant impact on community pharmacies and pharmacists.
Responding to the Federal Budget, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is highlighting the importance of consultation with the pharmacy profession on the proposed changes and their implementation, which will be the most effective way to ensure no patient and no pharmacist will be worse off.
PSA National President, Dr Fei Sim said: “As expected, the Federal Budget confirmed that it would proceed with a proposal to extend the time-frame to dispense over 300 medicines in pharmacies from 30 days’ supply to 60 days’ supply.
“Professionals who work in pharmacies have been surprised and disappointed by the decision made without adequate consultation, but PSA is seeking to work with government to learn more about how the cost savings from this measure will be redirected back to the pharmacy sector.
“In the interests of promoting public health outcomes, Australia’s pharmacy profession must continue to thrive, but community pharmacies can’t be expected to do more with less.
“Putting in place a higher level of consultation with pharmacists will, in part, help to offset the consequences for community pharmacies across Australia.”
Dr Sim said the impact of the changes is much broader than on pharmacists and pharmacy staff.
“Medicine use in Australia is increasing,” she said.
“Pharmacists are medicine experts and pharmacist intervention is critical to minimising medicine misadventure and harm.
“Community pharmacies are an integral part of Australia’s primary healthcare system.
“Our health system needs pharmacies and pharmacists, and government support is fundamental to delivery.
“The government has committed to the 60-day dispensing, but details around implementation and reinvestment into the profession are where the real impacts will be.
“Despite the commitment to expand vaccination and other services, reinvestment should be sufficient to maintain the viability of the community pharmacy network, not a redistribution or replacement of patient co-payment, and patients can continue to benefit from pharmacy-delivered services.
“The pharmacy profession remains open and willing to work with the government to help ensure there are no unintended consequences to this policy measure, and no patient and no pharmacist will be worse off.”
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