The PSA has welcomed the signing of a letter of intent between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild agreeing on the broad parameters of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, including doubling of funding for pharmacist-delivered professional services to $1.26 billion over five years.
“The allocation of $1.26 billion for evidence-based professional services is exactly what PSA has been advocating for,” says Acting National President of the PSA, Michelle Lynch.
“The 6CPA will have the largest professional services budget of any agreement to date. This allocation will amount to some 7% of the total agreement budget and will bring surety to continuation of services such as medication reviews over the next five years.”
Lynch says the signing of the letter of intent would end months of uncertainty and speculation over the future of the agreement.
The professional services allocation followed working group discussions over the past year with the Guild on programs and services, as well as advocacy by PSA to government and politicians across Australia.
“While full details are yet to be made public, it is critical the full range of professional services is progressed through this allocation as soon as possible. These services also need to be supported by appropriate implementation assistance,” Lynch says.
However, the PSA remains concerned about the health impact of some of the Budget savings measures that are still on the table such as the $1 discretionary co-payment discount, the co-payment increase from last year’s budget, the Safety Net threshold increases and the proposed de-listing of some medications from the PBS.
“We hope that consumer access to pharmacist services in 6CPA will not be contingent on these savings measures,” Lynch says.
“PSA welcomes the Guild’s statement that dispensing remuneration will be delinked from the price of medicines in the 6CPA. Similarly, it is critical that professional services are properly funded in their own right and not subject to savings measures being passed by Parliament.
“We look forward to more detail on what is intended for the $600 million described as a ‘contingency reserve’.
“Consumers deserve access to the full suite of evidence-based pharmacist services – they produce positive health outcomes and generate savings for Government.
“We congratulate the Minister on the Government’s acknowledgement of the significant value that pharmacists bring to primary care.
“This is a truly ground-breaking agreement for professional services, and we look forward to supporting pharmacists deliver these services, for the benefit of consumers.”