A delegation of Guild members from the Northern Territory and Western Australia visited Canberra this week to advocate for equitable remuneration for the dispensing of chronic disease prescriptions under the Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services Program.
As reported in Forefront, members met with the Department of Health, the offices of the Minister for Health, Minister for Rural Health, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Prime Minister, and with their local MPs, including Members for Solomon (NT) and Durack (WA).
The RAAHS Program is a special supply arrangement administered under Section 100 of the National Health Act 1953.
Under the program, patients receive their medicines from a community pharmacy, enabling them to be provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as they present to the RAAHS without the need for a normal prescription form and without being charged.
Implemented in 1999, the program has improved access to medicines on the PBS, representing one of most positive developments in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health service delivery for many years.
The delegation sought to resolve issues around the regulatory and remuneration arrangements which have not kept pace with current best practice in terms of quality use of medicines for these patients who often have multiple chronic diseases, Forefront reports.
During meetings, the Guild and the delegates advocated that the s100 RAAHS program be amended so that the remuneration for PBS medicines that are being dispensed to individual patients is consistent with normal remuneration for dispensing to other patients in any other community.
The Guild and delegation highlighted that the ongoing inequity for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians should be resolved as soon as possible.