Most pharmacists want CPA negotiations to change: poll

Pharmacists are dissatisfied with the way Community Pharmacy Agreements are negotiated, an AJP poll reveals

Earlier this month, AJP ran a poll asking how you feel the CPAs should be negotiated: should the current arrangement, with the negotiations between the Government and the Guild, be maintained?

This is one of the 140 questions posed by the King Review’s Discussion Paper, which asks whether it is appropriate that the Guild continues to negotiate formal remuneration agreements with the Government on behalf of, or to the exclusion of, other parties involved.

The response to our poll was overwhelming: you’re not satisfied.

Only 16% of the 366 (at the time of writing) respondents said the current arrangements were ideal, with another 2% saying they aren’t ideal but there are no better alternatives.

Eight per cent felt that the CPAs should be negotiated between the Guild, Government and PSA; another 1% felt that the Government should negotiate with the Guild as well as non-member pharmacy owners.

But a whopping 70% – 255 voters – want to see all other stakeholders, including the PSA, non-Guild owners, consumer and pharmacy employee groups sitting at the table with the Guild and Government.

“We think this would be a good idea,” said PPA’s Matt Harris, commenting on the poll results.

“A new form of arrangement needs to take place for future CPA – we would say the system is part professional and part industrial so we believe negotiations could occur with groups such as the Consumers Health Forum, the PSA, the Pharmacy Guild and ourselves.

“We’d be open to alternative approaches, and one might be to establish a panel comprised of those groups for the purposes of negotiating with the Government on pharmacy supply and services.

“We’re quite open to changing a model that’s been around now for about 26 years, and the pharmacy landscape has changed quite dramatically in that time in terms of ownership – there’s now a majority of services that are provided by pharmacists who are employees, so they should have a seat at the table.”

PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson said PSA would be commenting further on the CPA signatory issue as part of the organisation’s submission to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration & Regulation.

He cited a 6CPA Discussion Paper released in 2014 in which PSA said:

“PSA’s recent survey showed that an enhanced role for PSA in shaping the [Community Pharmacy] Agreements is supported by the profession. Without PSA, there is no voice for the many pharmacists employed within the community pharmacy sector, who in fact make up the largest proportion of the workforce.

“PSA believes that if its advice and input are actively being sought to design the professional programs in 6CPA, then it is only fair and reasonable that PSA be considered as a joint signatory to the parts of the Agreement dealing with professional programs and services.

“Signatory status would of course need to be contingent on PSA being involved as an equal partner/participant in all discussions that relate to the proposed professional programs and services in 6CPA.”

Only 2% of AJP readers want to move away from a partnership arrangement entirely.

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