The new 6CPA could be a ‘big deal’ for employee pharmacists, says Professional Pharmacists Australia, following the signing of an in-principle agreement between Health Minister Sussan Ley and the Pharmacy Guild.
PPA says it welcomes additional funding for professional services and the commitment by the Government and the Pharmacy Guild to hold an independent and public review of the pharmacy sector.
Chris Walton, Professional Pharmacists Australia CEO has called the $1.26 billion for evidence-based, patient-focused pharmacy programs, such as medication reviews, and the overall review of pharmacy as a win for employee pharmacists.
“The lift in funding is in line with PPA’s calls for community pharmacy reform,” Walton says.
“This announcement shows that policy makers are beginning to listen to employee pharmacists about the importance of medication reviews in the delivery of improved health outcomes.
“Medication reviews are a vital part of a better integrated future for pharmacy into the primary health care team.
“There are people in hospitals or suffering at home because there isn’t the access to quality pharmacist services that could have prevented medicine misadventure.”
Along with an additional 230,000 hospital admissions each year, 1.5 million Australian suffer adverse effects of medicines, he says.
“Additional funds in this area of healthcare should be welcomed; however we need to ensure that the extra funds get to where there is most need – patient care and not unnecessary administration.
“We will look closely at the detail of the agreement, because as we know from the auditor’s report there were many examples of money being spent on administration, communications campaigns and other business activities, rather than on patient care in 5CPA.” Walton says.
He says questions remain unanswered as to whether the owners’ organisation is the right group to manage the additional funding.
“If we have learnt one thing from the auditor’s report, it’s whether the Guild is the best organisation to manage the funding of future professional services such as medicine reviews.
“We welcome the announcement that these programs will be scrutinised and approved by the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee.”
In addition to the funding boost, it is understood that the Government and owners’ Guild have committed to an independent review of the pharmacy sector.
“Professional Pharmacists Australia expects that the independent review puts all areas of pharmacy on the table; from how professional services are delivered to the suitability of location rules,” Walton says.
“The review needs to put the interest of patients, and not pharmacy owners, first. It’s clear that business as usual isn’t working, and that’s why we need an honest discussion about what the future looks like.”
PPA says it believes the review should consider all aspects of community pharmacy including remuneration, the impact of online pharmacy, medicines reviews, rural support, aged care, and measures for ongoing auditing.
“We are hopeful this review will be an opportunity for employee pharmacists to put forward their positive ideas for how the skills of community pharmacists can be best integrated into primary health,” Walton says.