What are the leading pharmacy organisations aiming to achieve in 2019? AJP interviews the Guild, PSA and SHPA presidents
Pharmacy Guild president George Tambassis says next year will see the beginning of negotiations for the 7CPA.
“The 6CPA is running through till 30 June 2020, and the formal requirement of that is that the new agreement – the 7CPA – has to start being negotiated [with the government of the day] one year out of that,” he told AJP. “So basically from 1 July next year, that’s a big focus for us.”
The themes they will be discussing will be broad, says Mr Tambassis, and nothing’s off the table – including negotiations on price disclosure.
“Everything’s up for negotiation, especially if it’s in the remit of the Federal government. There’s stuff that they haven’t got control over and they don’t want to be involved in, that we don’t touch or is locked away, but if it’s in the remit of the government we can negotiate with them.”
The Pharmacy Guild is also expecting the outcomes from the pharmacy trial programs to be flowing through sometime next year.
“Definitely the diabetes screening trial will have all the outcomes from that trial coming across our desks next year before we start negotiating the 7CPA. I’m expecting [all the trial results] to be positive but I don’t expect them all to be finalised by the 1 July 2019,” says Mr Tambassis.
“The only one that we’re sure the outcomes will be out is the diabetes one that is finished. You see, none of the other ones are actually finished. It’ll be almost impossible to get the outcomes in the first six months of next year.”
The Guild will also have to discuss various other topics, including the government’s wish to start Special Pricing Arrangements on the 1 July.
“We’ve got to come together with government and come to a workable acceptable model ahead of the proposed date. The proposed trial date for that is again the 1 July 2019, so it seems like everything is converging around that time.”
And does Mr Tambassis think other parties such as the PSA will be invited to participate in negotiations for the 7CPA?
“It’s entirely up to the government, that’s a decision and a discussion and a negotiation that the government will have with us and other parties,” he told AJP.
“In terms of talking to other parties, of course the government will talk to as many parties as possible, and so will we. That won’t be anything different to last time. If they want to change things again it’ll be up to them to negotiate who actually participates in whatever process they put in place.”
New PSA national president Dr Chris Freeman says that 2019 will see PSA’s paper on the immediate future of pharmacy, Pharmacy in 2023, come out following consultation with a significant number of its members.
The paper will also act as an action plan, and “we intend for the profession to take it up with both hands,” Dr Freeman told the AJP.
“This is not something PSA expects to do all by ourselves, but with whole-of-profession buy-in.
“There are things PSA can work on, but we’re not foolish enough to think we can achieve all these things on our own – this will require the collaboration of other organisations and stakeholders within and outside the pharmacy profession.”
High on the list of priorities in the report – on which action is set to begin in 2019 – are appropriate recognition for pharmacists’ integral role in patient care; appropriate remuneration for doing so; and that appropriate roles are open to pharmacists.
“These are both integral roles within community pharmacy, but also outside pharmacies, so that whenever a medicine is being considered or used, a pharmacist must be involved so we can help ensure the quality use of that medicine,” Dr Freeman says.
“Often we are, as a profession, considered by the Government, other health professionals and by consumers as a luxury, rather than a necessity.
“We have to try and shift that culture to acknowledge the full, integral role pharmacists play in the health system. Some of the frustrating things we see regularly are documents produced by multiple stakeholders on health policy, and pharmacists are left out.
“We have to really try and change that.”
New SHPA President Peter Fowler says 2019 will see the organisation pivot from establishing leading programs to leveraging their growth to advance Australian pharmacy and patient care.
“After a year of turning points for our cornerstone initiatives, SHPA is energised to support world-leading pharmacy practice through progressive leadership, collaboration, workforce development, education and advocacy,” said Mr Fowler.
“Early in the new year we will be releasing our 2019-23 Strategic Plan, which will outline our central goal: equipping pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to enable health services and hospitals to deliver better health outcomes for all Australians.
“We will do this through five key areas: focusing on patients through practice, building a world-leading pharmacy workforce, advancing collaborative practice, providing a progressive voice and maintaining a healthy organisation.”
Meanwhile SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels says she will be ensuring the organisation maintains focus on improving its suite of unique member programs, resources and opportunities.
“As Australia’s fastest-growing pharmacy organisation we remain committed to being the active professional partner of Australia’s leading community of pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy assistants – no matter where or how they work across Australia’s health system.
“We have begun the soft roll-out of CPD Central, SHPA’s new CPD planning and recording tool, and will continue to implement improvements with, and for our now 5,200-strong membership so they have the tools, networks and opportunities to consolidate their practice, drive their careers and lead the field.”