Sussan Ley saves co-op pharmacy

concerned cohealth Collingwood patient holds up sign in support of the pharmacy

The co-op pharmacy which was facing closure after being defunded in the 2015 Budget has been saved, according to Greens MP Adam Bandt.

In what he described as “a win in my community of Melbourne,” Bandt shared with the Parliament earlier this week that Health Minister Sussan Ley has confirmed the cohealth Collingwood pharmacy will be able to continue its work.

“Melbourne is home to the country’s only community pharmacy,” Bandt said.

“It services low-income earners in the area of Melbourne, in particular in the housing commission flats that you see in the Yarra area.

“That pharmacy has been operating for decades. It operates at the moment on a subscription model where low-income earners can pay a small amount and as a result get back cheap medicine.

“One of the beauties of it is that it is co-located with doctors and other allied health professionals, so the pharmacist in prescribing can actually go in and talk to the others working with them.”

After the Abbott government cut the pharmacy’s funding, its local community rallied around it, campaigning to keep it open and highlighting the important role it plays in their lives.

“Residents and everyone who uses the pharmacy got together, rang the Minister, wrote letters and got themselves on social media—which was a first, for many of them,” Bandt told Parliament.

“Headed by Lyn Morgain, their chief, they mounted a huge effort to bring to the attention of the government and the community the necessity of continuing this community pharmacy.

“The best thing is that in the last few weeks we have had word from the Minister that they will be allowed to continue.

“I want to place on record my thanks to the Health Minister, who behaved as a minister should.

“When confronted with this unique but very good situation, we found a solution which will enable cohealth community pharmacy to continue, this time as part of the PBS.

“It is a win-win for everyone, so congratulations to everyone in Melbourne for fighting, standing up and keeping it alive.”

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