“Closing the gap is the responsibility of us all”

21 March 2024

Today the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) marks National Close the Gap Day, a National Day of Action to pledge support for achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity.

It is also a day to celebrate the resilience, innovation, and success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The latest Closing the Gap Annual Data Compilation Report released by the Productivity Commission in 2023 found that while 11 out of 19 socio-economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are improving, only four are on track to meet their targets.

PSA’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Practice – Community of Specialty Interest Chair and proud Nywaigi Mamu woman Chastina Heck MPS highlights the need for system-wide change to achieve better outcomes and recognition for First Nations communities.

“Closing the gap is the responsibility of us all,” Ms Heck says.

“Since the release of PSA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health care position statement last year, PSA continues to honour its commitment to advocating for equitable care for First Nations communities.

“Importantly, PSA continues calls for the permanent introduction and funding of pharmacists integrated within the primary healthcare teams of Aboriginal Health Service, as demonstrated through the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to Improve Chronic Disease Management, or IPAC Project.

“This Closing the Gap day, we call for action in funding embedded pharmacists to support both our patients and colleagues working in Aboriginal Medical Services in navigating the complex healthcare systems and related policies.

“The IPAC model is critically supported by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), recognising the essential role of quality use of medicines and medicine safety in the management of chronic conditions.

“All pharmacists practising around the country, not just in Aboriginal Health Services, have a responsibility to provide health care that is culturally responsive and safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


“I encourage every pharmacist to review their CPD plan and consider closing any of their own gaps in delivering culturally responsive care which is both a professional and legal requirement.

“All pharmacists can enrol and complete the free Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course, one of the growing number of educational offerings specifically designed to meet the needs of pharmacists.”

Enrolments are open for the Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course – visit Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au