New Health Minister Greg Hunt is a good listener and the Guild is looking forward to engaging with him very soon, says Victorian Guild branch president and constituent Anthony Tassone
“Minister Hunt is my local member, and I can say that in my past dealings with him, both on a professional level and on other levels, he’s been an extremely good listener,” Mr Tassone, who resides in Minister Hunt’s electorate of Flinders, told the AJP today.
“He’s had an open door policy and been very diligent in following up the concerns raised by our members.
“Mr Hunt is an experienced Cabinet minister, and the Guild stands ready and willing to assist in briefing him on the relevant issues related to our industry, and provide constructive solutions in terms of improving health solutions through community pharmacy for Australians, going forward,” says Mr Tassone.
“There are a number of live issues for the Pharmacy Guild, including the risk share arrangement that has not been resolved at this point, along with our ongoing concerns about the $1 discountable copayment policy, which we look forward to taking up with the Minister in the very near future.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appointed Minister Hunt, previously the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, to the Health portfolio this morning following the resignation of Sussan Ley.
Guild president George Tambassis also welcomed the new Minister this morning and flagged the pharmacy sector’s ongoing issues.
However, the pharmacists’ union has urged Mr Hunt to listen to other stakeholders than the Guild.
PPA president Dr Geoff March says the union has called on Mr Hunt “to continue the government’s support of the independent review of pharmacy despite the Guild’s recent attacks on it”.
“It’s vital that the review continues to be supported, as it has given a platform to employees, consumers and other stakeholders to put forward positive plans for the future,” says Dr March.
“We’re encouraging the Minister to listen and learn from people other than the powerful lobbyists at the owners’ guild to identify the core issues facing the sector.
“The current policy settings are failing on several fronts, and this review is an opportunity to chart a new roadmap for the sector.
“The community is currently not getting best value for money, consumers are not getting the best healthcare and employee pharmacists are too entangled in retail sales, rather than having time to use their professional knowledge and skills.”