PSA has welcomed a commitment reported in The Australian on May 11 to double the amount of funding for pharmacist programs and professional services in the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement from $600 million to $1.2 billion over the next five years.
Acting National President of the PSA, Michelle Lynch, says this demonstrates the Health Minister has been listening.
“Our 6CPA discussion paper released late last year, Better health outcomes through improved primary care, as well as ongoing advocacy by PSA and our all of our members, argues that $1.2 billion is the amount necessary to properly fund important pharmacist-delivered services in 6CPA,” Lynch says.
She says that while specific details of services and programs have not been made public, she hopes this funding would bring surety to the continuation of professional services such as Home Medicines Reviews, and also enable continued support for services such as Clinical Interventions and Dose Administration Aids.
“Patient access to the health benefit of these $1.2 billion worth of services is critical,” she says.
“We know that our members – Australia’s pharmacists – are ready to deliver services to communities and consumers in need.
“We look forward to helping pharmacists deliver the full range of professional services as soon as possible.”
Lynch also welcomes the focus on rural and remote services and the need for performance measures.
“Today’s report in The Australian also highlights the Minister’s focus on performance measures for the 6CPA. The need for a greater focus on evidence and outcomes has also been highlighted in PSA’s advocacy and our 6CPA discussion paper.
“In addition, we have long argued that rural and remote pharmacy needs support, and it’s great to see the Minister agrees,” Lynch says.
PSA also welcomed the reported investment in the important infrastructure of community pharmacy, a critical component of the health network that allows Australians affordable and timely access to the PBS, as well as access to pharmacist services.
“Everyone benefits from a viable community pharmacy sector. It allows pharmacists to be employed not only to provide medicines and advice, but to use their medication management expertise to deliver services to consumers and work with GPs to improve patient health, which has flow on benefits in the broader health system.
“This proposed policy is a win for consumers, a win for Government and a win for pharmacists,” Lynch says.
PSA says it remains concerned however, about some of the measures proposed by Government to create savings in the PBS budget, particularly those that have the potential to undermine the National Medicines Policy’s Quality Use of Medicines principles by commoditising medicines and threaten universal access to the PBS.
“What we would not wish to see is that the benefits for consumers in any proposed pharmacist programs are offset by cuts in other areas,” Lynch says.
“As PSA and key consumers groups stated last week, we are opposed to proposals that disadvantage consumers with chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, and those living in rural areas.
“We urge the minister to reconsider the delisting of over-the counter medicines on the PBS, the $1 discretionary discount and the proposed co-payment increases from last year’s budget, as the full impact of these measures has not been properly considered.”