Just as pharmacists make choices about their careers and businesses, the Federal Government is facing some “clear and stark” choices about community pharmacy as negotiations on the 6CPA wind up, Guild executive director David Quilty says.
Writing in this week’s edition of Forefront, Quilty writes that in a free society, we all make choices based on the evidence before us and on the values that guide us.
“Just as Guild Members have made their own choices, the Federal Government is facing some clear and stark choices of its own,” he writes.
“In the weeks ahead, the decisions it makes in relation to the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement and the Harper Review will determine the future of pharmacy in this country.
“Does it keep the tried and trusted community pharmacy model that continues to enjoy such overwhelming public support or does it make a leap, without a parachute, into the great unknown?
“Does it invest in high-quality, cost-effective health outcomes or pursue a lowest common denominator approach, where pharmacists are little more than mere medicine vending machines?
“Does it support small business owners with real skin in the game, who take risks and put their livelihoods on the line, or hand over the keys to pharmacy to the big corporate supermarkets and dominant warehouse chains?
“And does it maintain or tear down part of the social fabric of local and regional communities?”
Quilty writes that these are truly momentous decisions which cannot be undone once made.
“Once the community model is gone, it cannot be reincarnated,” he says.
“As decision-makers contemplate what lies before them, the Guild simply asks that they make good, evidence-based decisions and that they put patients first.
“Ultimately, these decisions are not about the Guild winning or losing. They are about delivering the very best health outcomes to patients and about supporting the professional and hard-working community pharmacy staff whose jobs are on the line.
“In coming weeks, the Federal Government will decide if it truly values community pharmacy and we simply ask that it makes sound decisions in the best interests of the Australian public.”