‘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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