A seat at the table

Dr Jackson discusses the future at PSA18.
Dr Jackson discusses the future at PSA18.

Broaden the agreement to reflect the true scope of pharmacy, PSA leaders say

The Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement represents an opportunity to broaden the dialogue between pharmacy and government and to recognise the scope of pharmacy practice, PSA leaders believe.

Speaking at an interactive 7CPA session at the recent PSA18 Conference in Sydney, PSA national president Shane Jackson said the agreement “needs to be a facilitator for professional development, scope of practice and to recognise the scale and complexity of what we do.”

He did keep the agreement’s core financial imperative to the fore, however, saying pharmacy should be using it as a way to help solve the issue of poor remuneration for employed pharmacists.

“We need to ensure the 7CPA includes enough remuneration for community pharmacies that there is flow through to individual practitioners,” he said.

Belinda Wood, PSA general manager for policy and advocacy, said that as we move into the beginning of 7CPA negotiations that “it doesn’t matter which party is in power, the key is who are the other participants around the table”.

Ms Wood said the Consumers Health Forum would play a strong role in the agreement, as had been indicated by the Federal government and the King Review, and she believed PSA would be a major participant in the agreement.

Dr Jackson said based on recent discussions with political figures, the agenda between the major parties “might be a little different”.

“I recently spoke to Catherine King and she reinforced the ALPs emphasis on prevention. This could lead to more focus on pharmacist’s screening and other preventive measures than with a coalition government,” he said.

“So the focus may be a little different, but the level of support for pharmacy is definitely similar between both sides of politics.” 

Ms Wood said PSA wanted the 7CPA to contain some form of provision for the quality of services provided by pharmacy, as well as about medication safety. It also wanted increased investment in professional programs, that were to be properly targeted and evaluated.

Straw polls conducted during the session showed overwhelming support (around 70%) from the floor for a government-funded minor ailment scheme in the 7CPA, and even greater numbers (80%) expressed support for “a remuneration model for dispensing that would pay pharmacies for the consultation and the complexity of dispensing”.

The vote on pharmacist prescribing was more mixed, with around 40% voting “yes”, but another 35% voting for “collaborative prescribing only”. Very few delegates voted no however.

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