Greg Hunt third-last in preferred Minister poll

Greg Hunt may have been named as the new Minister for Health and Sport, but it appears that he’s not the first choice of Australia’s pharmacists

Earlier this week we asked who you’d like as Health Minister and the results were overwhelming: like Pauline Hanson, you wanted Tony Abbott back.

The former PM was Health Minister in the Howard Government from 2003 until the Coalition lost government in 2007. In the ideal world of 33% of readers, he’d be back in the role.

The runner-up was Sussan Ley, who 14% of AJP readers wish hadn’t resigned; Arthur Sinodinos, who until yesterday was tipped to be the next Health Minister, took third place with 12% of your vote.

Greg Hunt, with 5% of the vote, came third last, just beating “other National candidate” and Peter Dutton.

One reader seemed less than impressed with the new appointment.

“Do you think he’ll deny the changing climate of health too?” wrote reader Dirk.

The pharmacy industry thus finds itself in unlikely agreement with the Greens, who slammed the appointment today as “out of touch”.

“Greg Hunt nearly killed the Great Barrier Reef, imagine what he’s going to do with our health,” said Greens leader Dr Richard Di Natale.

Official pharmacy, however, congratulated Mr Hunt on his new job.

“Greg Hunt takes over the portfolio at a time when there are a number of unresolved issues of concern to community pharmacy in Australia,” the Guild’s George Tambassis said.

“It is critical that these issues are addressed and resolved quickly and satisfactorily to give security to community pharmacists so they can continue their work in improving the health outcomes of all Australians.

“During the year the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement will reach its halfway mark and the Pharmacy Guild is committed to working with the Minister and the Federal Government to ensure the Agreement’s funding is fully and appropriately expended on programs and initiatives to improve health outcomes for patients and consumers.

“To achieve this we need to work together to resolve any and all outstanding issues to clear the way to move forward.

“We are confident of a constructive and positive relationship with Mr Hunt who brings to the position a broad wealth of political experience.

“The Guild will be seeking early discussions with the new Minister and his office.”

PSA national president Joe Demarte said that “PSA urges the new Minister to progress the innovative work which has already been undertaken in the Health portfolio in terms of healthcare reforms involving pharmacists, especially the integration pharmacists into general practice clinics and ensuring that pharmacists play a critical role in the Health Care Homes (HCH) initiative.”

“We look forward to working closely with Mr Hunt on a number of key issues and reforms, including to further optimise the contribution of pharmacists to help improve healthcare and reduce cost in Australia’s health system,” Mr Demarte said.

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