Many questions and a lot more answers


Joe Demarte, PSA national president

The much delayed Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Discussion Paper has finally arrived, writes Joe Demarte

The paper contains an extensive list of 140 questions on a whole range of pharmacy activities, including remuneration, regulation, wholesaling, the consumer experience, the role of pharmacists, alternative business models, community pharmacy agreements, hospital pharmacies and Aboriginal Health Services.

PSA’s 6CPA discussion paper contained PSA’s suggestions for how the profession could develop. And I believe that buried in those 140 questions is a wealth of opportunity and potential for pharmacy to forge a bright future where it has a much more collaborative role in the wider healthcare community aimed at delivering health outcomes for Australians.

On first reading I was encouraged to see so many comments put forward by PSA in its briefing to the Panel had been included as critical questions from the Panel.

For example: examining the potential for payment for professional pharmacist services through the MBS, the potential for payment level linked to complexity, the potential for improvement to HMR rules, the potential for improving rural and remote support and access and the potential for improvement to access to medicines management services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

This discussion paper is just a stage of what is going to be a long process of consultation, debate and information gathering by the Review Panel.

Pharmacists attending the PSA16 conference at the end of July were able to attend a breakfast presentation by two of the Review Panel members, Jo Watson and Bill Scott. Both were open and forthright in outlining the review’s focus.

Also at PSA16, Health Minister Sussan Ley MP devoted the final part of her address to the conference to the review. She made it clear, as did Jo Watson and Bill Scott that the prime focus of the review is about meeting the needs of consumers.

Ms Ley said: “I really do want the Review to consider first and foremost if we have a system that meets the needs of consumers. It is an important opportunity to hear what consumers value about the medicines advice and health services they receive through pharmacy, and what scope there is to encourage those services that meet consumers’ needs and promote greater efficiency through the health system.”

PSA is developing a comprehensive submission in response to the Discussion Paper as well as meeting with the Review Panel. We will ensure that our responses are tightly focussed on assisting the government to achieve its goal of meeting the health needs of consumers.

However, I encourage all pharmacists across Australia to attend the Review consultation sessions and make their views and ideas know to the reviewers.

I would also urge members to let PSA know their views on the questions raised in the paper. (via: pharmacyreview@psa.org.au)

PSA strongly supports a viable and sustainable community pharmacy network in Australia. As a learning profession committed to evidence-based models of care, there are always opportunities to consider new ways for pharmacists to enhance service delivery.

PSA is open to considering better ways to enable pharmacists to deliver healthcare to consumers, including through improved remuneration arrangements.

The Review is a critical opportunity to shape the future direction of pharmacy practice in Australia. It’s also fundamental to the future of all pharmacists and I encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation process and have their say on this important issue.

PSA is committed to a strategic, practical plan to meet the future needs of consumers and improve remuneration for pharmacists by engaging in the review process. It may well be a once in a generation opportunity to shape our future as a profession so once again I urge all pharmacists to make their views known to the reviewers by attending a forum or completing the review survey. (Visit: www.health.gov.au/pharmacyreview for details.)

 

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