New PM means new opportunities: David Quilty

Malcolm Turnbull

Australia’s new Prime Minister and eight new faces in Federal Cabinet provide opportunities for new thinking and innovative approaches to business including pharmacy, says Guild executive director David Quilty.

The Guild has been in contact with the new PM to highlight the work of community pharmacy.

Writing in this week’s edition of Guild newsletter Forefront, Quilty says that in Malcolm Turnbull, the nation has a leader who is vastly experienced in business and understands the power of technology.

“The Guild has a positive relationship with the new Prime Minister, both through his longstanding contacts with community pharmacy owners and our advocacy during his time as Communications Minister,” Quilty writes.

“Earlier this year, the Guild’s Victorian President, Anthony Tassone, hosted Mr Turnbull at his pharmacy outside Melbourne to discuss the benefits of the NBN in delivering faster internet speeds.

“After that meeting, Anthony reported how vitally interested the now Prime Minister was in the diverse array of health services that pharmacies regularly deliver in their local communities.”

Guild national President, George Tambassis, has written to Prime Minister Turnbull congratulating him and outlining our priorities in working with his Government.

“George reiterated the Guild’s appreciation that the 6CPA effectively puts a floor under official dispensing remuneration and delivers a significant increase in funding for community pharmacy services,” says Quilty.

“He also thanked the Coalition for maintaining the Location Rules until mid-2020.

“George pointed out that the community pharmacy network stands ready to play an enhanced role in primary health care by delivering better and more cost-effective outcomes in areas like preventative health and early intervention, chronic disease management, medication management, support for the aged and people with disabilities, and in rural and Indigenous health.

“He reminded the Prime Minister that pharmacies have consistently led the way in adopting and deploying ICT-enabled health solutions, and are ready to work with his Government in delivering a truly connected health system that embraces e-health, tele-health, technology-enabled patient support systems and advanced data analytics.”

Tambassis also committed community pharmacies around Australia to partnering with the Government in combatting the destructive scourge of Ice and the misuse of illicit and prescription drugs in our society, Quilty says.

“As trusted and accessible medicines experts in virtually every town and suburb, no one is in a better position that community pharmacists to make a genuine difference working collaboratively at the coal-face with GPs, counsellors, rehabilitation experts and other community leaders.”

The letter also highlighted the Guild’s ongoing concerns about the discounted co-payment and asks to work constructively with the new Government to address these concerns.

“The Prime Minister has made abundantly clear that, as a nation, we need to be confident, positive and focussed on the exciting opportunities before us,” writes Quilty.

“Community pharmacies are a living example of Mr Turnbull’s approach.  They are delivering a fiscally sustainable PBS, transforming their businesses, embracing new technology, diversifying into primary health care services and ready to play a vital leadership role combatting the social and economic impact of drugs in communities around Australia.

“As 1 January approaches, this positive agenda will unfortunately have to play second fiddle to the impact of a policy that commoditises medicine supply; reducing pharmacies to the lowest common denominator of whether they give their patients up to a dollar off or not.

“With a new Prime Minister and a Minister committed to health reform, it’s time to think big and be imaginative, developing a true partnership that maximises the value the community pharmacy network can deliver for patients and the wider health system.”

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