‘The most important election in decades’: Incoming government must prioritise consumer access to pharmacist services.
Sunday 10 April 2022
Ahead of what has been dubbed as the most important election in decades, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is renewing calls to prioritise better consumer access to care through fairer remuneration for pharmacist delivered services.
Today, the Prime Minister has confirmed that the 2022 Federal Election will be held on Saturday 21st May.
PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, demanded that both major parties look to address inequitable consumer access to care as a matter of priority for the incoming government.
“The Australian public and pharmacists have faced immense challenges and pressures over the past 24 months. Now, more than ever, is the time to ensure that access to health care remains universal, particularly for the most vulnerable of the population. Consumers need subsidised access to care at the health setting and their qualified health professional of choice.
“Consumers face out of pocket expenses for the administration of the influenza vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) if delivered by their pharmacist, whereas, receive subsidies if done at a general practice. It is unacceptable for a consumer not to receive this subsidy for exactly the same service delivered by a qualified health professional in a setting of their choice.
“When it comes to case conferences, a critical multidisciplinary process for ensuring quality of care, pharmacists are the only allied health provider that government does not remunerate for their time and participation. This is unacceptable, and at the end of the day, Australians are losing out.
“Introducing a Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) payment to pharmacists for administering NIP vaccines, and a separate MBS rebate for pharmacists to be remunerated for participating multidisciplinary case conferences, would increase consumer access to pharmacist skills and expertise.
“If these pay disparities continue to exist, it will have dire consequences on Australia’s healthcare system, ultimately leaving patients out of pocket.
“We are six weeks out from one of the most important Federal Elections, and the Government’s pandemic response and outlook for the healthcare system will be under the microscope once again. The successful party must rectify these inequalities as a matter of priority, keeping consumers front and centre of their decision making.
“It is absolutely critical that the incoming government places consumers at the forefront of their policy decisions, ensuring that pharmacists can continue to deliver essential services which have kept Australians safe during this unprecedented period of uncertainty,” he said.
Over the coming months, PSA, the peak body representing Australian pharmacists, is committed to working with the incoming government to tackle these challenges, improving access to pharmacist delivered care and ensuring Australian’s get the care they need, when and where they need it.