The Pharmacy Guild has welcomed the findings of a Queensland parliamentary inquiry that it says will pave the way for pharmacists to operate to the full extent of their training
The President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch, Trent Twomey, said the move would give Queenslanders better access to health services across the State and take pressure off GPs and hospital emergency departments.
The inquiry’s findings will be considered by the Queensland Government before it issues a response in coming months.
“Research clearly shows there are so many benefits to implementing this common sense move that will bring Queensland into line with other states and comparable countries,” Mr Twomey said.
“This is at a time when our health system is under more pressure than ever. An expanded role for community pharmacists would deliver nationwide savings in hospital costs, aged care and GP costs and see workforce productivity rise.
“It will make it easier for Queenslanders to get treatment by allowing pharmacists to use their full potential to administer vaccinations, to treat minor conditions and continue to dispense medicines already prescribed, saving patients repeat visits to a doctor.
“It will make it easier for Queenslanders to get treatment and preventative healthcare.”
With 70 million visits annually to Queensland’s network of 1,100 community pharmacies, the measures would also deliver improved health outcomes for Queenslanders living in regional and remote areas, he said.
Mr Twomey said recent reports that Australians were putting off GP visits because of rising health care costs, together with our ageing population highlighted the need for changes to the current system.
The inquiry also examined aspects of pharmacy ownership and Mr Twomey said the Guild would continue to push for greater scrutiny.
“Corporate predators and publicly listed companies will always put the bottom line ahead of patients – whilst strict ownership laws remain in place we have to make sure any attempts to find a back door into the market are stopped and pharmacies always remain in the hands of community pharmacists.
“That’s why a new body is needed to keep publicly listed giants in check. The creation of a Pharmacy Council with the resources and powers of councils in all other jurisdictions will bring us into line with the rest of the nation and better protect Queenslanders.
A report by the Queensland Audit Office for the inquiry found more scrutiny was needed of ownership transfers under the present system with more than 800 transactions in the past two years.
Mr Twomey said The Guild would continue to work with all Queensland MPs to provide the best care for all Queenslanders.