‘Profits over patient safety’

The RACGP’s president has cited a warning over pharmacists vaccinating children in a “retail environment” amongst the organisation’s efforts over the last year

Speaking at the College’s national conference, GP19, Dr Harry Nespolon also praised the upschedule of low-dose codeine and launched a new version of the RACPG’s Vision for General Practice and a sustainable healthcare system.

“We warned the pharmacy sector was seeking profits over patient safety by giving vaccinations to children as young as 10 in a retail environment and well beyond their scope of practice,” he said in praising the College’s advocacy.

According to newsGP, Dr Nespolon also said the RACGP’s stance on low-dose codeine – that it should be upscheduled to Prescription Only, a move which took place in February 2018 – was “key” and had resulted a “significant” drop in overdoses associated with the medication.

He said that the RACGP has also been advocating for government funding to reduce the cost burden to patients in accessing health care.

“Just yesterday, it was raised in Senate Estimates – the fact that this year, the average out-of-pocket expense is higher than the level B rebate for the first time,” he told delegates.

“We are $2.34 billion behind since the Medicare rebate freeze began, due to a lack of proper indexation.”

Dr Nespolon said that the RACGP would “continue this fight” and that its advocacy on certain issues would only grow stronger.

Meanwhile the relaunched Vision for General Practice and a Sustainable Health Care System was described as a “framework for excellence in patient-centred healthcare which aims to address the many challenges faced by GPs and general practices”.

“Too often we focus on what is wrong with our healthcare system without providing alternatives for how it could be improved. This re-launch provides strong solutions for improving patient care in all communities.”

The document contains a “high-level overview of the interrelationships between patients and the Australian healthcare system” with patients at the centre of the image. “GPs and the general practice team” as well as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services surround the patient.

Pharmacies, as well as hospitals, allied health and dental services, mental health services, non-GP specialists and other groups orbit these three groups.

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  1. Still a Pharmacist

    To keep healthcare spending under control, govt should introduce a fee for patients to attend doctors.

    It could be a flat fee of $10.00 for everyone. Off this money, retired healthcare card holders will get 70% refund in next payment (will effectively pay $3.00 per visit). Other healthcare card holders will get 50% back and general patients will not get any refund.

    It will reduce unnecessary visit to doctors and save some MBS money. The money collected from this fees can be spent on MBS and PBS.

  2. Mimimomo

    I am a Pharmacist. For a pharmacist to vaccinate children, i think is wrong. We should leave this to the Dr. Why i said this is because most of the time pharmacist have to multi task and we can hardly put 100% attention to this fragile kids. I think profit will come first when pharmacy are allow to vaccinate children. I strongly opposed this. I hope the Dr will try their best to prevent this happening. Yes the pharmacy guild or PSA would said that they have a standard procedure for this, but how many is this standard followed to the core i cam guarantee the Owner of the pharmacy only care about the money.

    • Geoffrey Timbs

      If you have undertaken the required vaccination training you would know that in NSW there must be a second pharmacist available to ‘multi task’ and leave you free to give ‘100% attention’. Because of the need for multiple pharmacists and the ongoing costs of maintaining training, an owner that was only interested in profits would probably opt NOT to provide the service. Fortunately most pharmacists including owners are concerned about patient welfare and their own reputation as a health care provider as well as their business viability

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