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Government must get pharmacists working outside of pharmacies, CHF says

The Consumers Health Forum has congratulated the Federal government on its recent reelection, but says it now has a lot of work to do to improve Australia’s health system. 

The CHF has set three top priorities it wants the government to focus on in its new term of office, and says it also has a raft of other key recommendations – including radically revamping the ways Australia’s pharmacists work.

In its official statement on the election result, CHF has referred to the almost-forgotten Review of Pharmacy Regulation and Remuneration (the King Review) and its call for a much wider scope of practice for pharmacists.

“As recommended by the Government’s expert review of pharmacy regulation and remuneration, pharmacy professionals need to play a more active part in mainstream primary health care extending beyond the retail pharmacy setting,” the CHF says.

The call fits in with one of the 3 health priorities the organisation has recommended, a wider scope for allied health professionals within primary care.

The government must “ensure Australia’s health system makes the most of the potential offered by its high standards and skilled health workforce,” CHF said.

CHF’s top three priorities for action are:

  • A national preventive health strategy aimed particularly at ending the high incidence of overweight and obesity in children
  • Building on existing primary health care trials for those with chronic illness to develop integrated, team-based care led by GPs and incorporating allied health professionals working in a system that supports patients to self-manage their health around Australia
  • Expanding the public dental system to reduce unacceptable prevalence of low-income Australians forced to live with the misery of poor oral health.

“These goals are vital if we are to have as many Australians as possible living healthy and productive lives,” said the organisation’s CEO Leanne Wells.

“We were heartened by Minister Hunt’s comments at the AMA National Conference this weekend where he signalled a commitment to a prevention partnership and a ten-year national primary health care plan as among his priorities during this term,” she said.

“It is essential that these are designed in close consultation with consumers and the community.”

 “The Government in its last term made encouraging steps towards improving the health system including in primary care and health insurance. Now we urge Mr Hunt and the Morrison Government to work with CHF and other national stakeholders to take further strides to build a health system that reflects 21st century needs.”

 

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