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“The majority of owners want to pay their staff more”: What are the Guild’s objectives for the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement? What do rank and file Guild members want?

A question and answer session at the recent Pharmacy Connect conference in Sydney explored what the Guild, and its members, may be looking to achieve in the 7CPA.

The session saw presentations by Guild national president George Tambassis focusing on the wholesale situation, NSW Guild councillor Catherine Bronger on professional programs and dispensing, and South Australian Guild President Nick Panayiaris outlining the results from the Guild’s recent 7CPA member survey.

With input from moderator, Guild executive director David Quilty, and robust questioning and debate from delegates, the session produced a number of talking points.

Among the topics raised from the floor were the issues of staff pay and disillusion, the extra cost of dispensing in extended-hours pharmacy (and can this receive extra remuneration) and the cost of electricity in certain areas.

On the pay topic, the Guild leadership were supportive of seeing wages increase, but Mr Tambassis said they needed to “convince government” of the issue. Mr Quilty said “the vast majority of owners i’ve spoken to say they want to pay their staff more.”

Meanwhile, well-known pharmacy owner and consultant Peter Feros raised the issue of electricity prices, especially in South Australia (see here for more on this topic), and of the additional costs accrued in dispensing out of normal hours.

Mr Feros suggested looking at some form of additional remuneration to compensate for the extra staff costs (penalty rates) required for dispensing at these times. 

This was well received by the Guild officials, with Ms Bronger saying it as “a great idea. Offering after hours is really a kind of community service. We should look at this…”  

Here are some key items that were raised from the Guild’s member survey:

  • 60% of survey respondents said they wanted additional funding in dispensing remuneration
  • An overwhelming number of survey respondents called for the $1 PBS co-pay discount to be abolished in the 7CPA
  • The majority of respondents wanted an increase in both the dispensing fee AND the AHI fee
  • The “vast majority” of survey respondents wanted to see the range of professional programs covered by the 7CPA to be expanded from the 6th Agreement. The most preferred additions were post-discharge medicines reconciliation, and Diabetes screening
  • 67% wanted a 7CPA priority to be continued funding of Dose Administration Aids
  • 93% said manufacturers should be required to make all PBS-listed products available to all CSO-participating wholesalers
  • 82% wanted community pharmacies to have enhanced access to specialised medicines
  • A majority wanted improvements to the way in which high-cost medicines move through the supply chain

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