The PSA is keen to work on fair pay for pharmacists, while the Guild says the election win helps provide certainty
Following the re-election of the Morrison Coalition Government over the weekend, health stakeholder groups have spoken out to welcome the Government back, and outline their hopes for the next few years.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia: The PSA issued an early statement welcoming the re-election, and followed up with another statement in which it said it looks forward to progressing fair remuneration for pharmacists in recognition of their professional contribution in supporting people’s health – a key action from its Pharmacists in 2023 report.
“Pharmacists are underpaid noting their key role in healthcare. This needs to be addressed as we head into negotiations for the next Community Pharmacy Agreement,” Dr Freeman said.
PSA received a commitment from the Coalition to declare medicine safety a National Health Priority Area as requested by the PSA through its Federal Budget Submission and in response to PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report.
This report highlighted that $1.4 billion dollars is lost annually in Australia’s healthcare system because of safety issues associated with medicines.
It said that as a signatory to the 7CPA, the PSA will “work to preserve the accessibility of community pharmacy for the delivery of healthcare services such as vaccinations, medication management and minor illness care”.
“We will also ensure that the 7CPA utilises pharmacists to their full scope of practice and has pharmacists delivering services tailored to community needs.”
PSA says it will engage with the Government on aligning the incentives for pharmacists to support rural and remote communities with those of other health practitioners. Dr Freeman said that Australians living in rural and remote areas are more likely to have chronic conditions and poorer health outcomes than people in major cities.
“Pharmacists could play a much greater role in rural and remote areas, where they are often one of the only health providers. It’s only logical that the incentives for other health professionals should be available to pharmacists as well.
“All of these commitments, if fulfilled, will further unlock the potential of pharmacists and allow them to improve healthcare access and outcomes for Australians, and reduce variabilities in care.
“PSA looks forward to working closely with the Morrison Government and Minister Hunt, with whom we have an excellent working relationship, to make full use of pharmacists’ expertise and clinical training to improve access to care and medicine safety for all Australians,” Dr Freeman said.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia: The Pharmacy Guild of Australia congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison , with its National President George Tambassis saying the election win would help to provide greater certainty for community pharmacies and their staff.
“The Coalition has long been a strong supporter of community pharmacy and recognises the important role that community pharmacists play in the healthcare sector,” Mr Tambassis said.
“Community pharmacies across the country are facing a very tough operating environment and certainty is crucial to their ability to continue meeting the ongoing health needs of the communities they serve.
“This year we are entering negotiations for the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement, an agreement which will shape the future of the sector and the pharmacy profession.
“Our strong and respectful relationship with the Coalition will be central to ensuring the best outcomes for health consumers and the pharmacy profession are achieved in the 7th Agreement.
“We also congratulate Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on the election result and commend the Nationals for their strong focus on rural health issues in the campaign.”
Mr Tambassis said the Guild looks forward to the announcement of the new Morrison Government Cabinet and to working with Minister Hunt and the new ministers in all areas including health, aged care and rural and indigenous health.
Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia: SHPA urged the government to continue to engage with hospital pharmacists as they implement their election commitments to health.
SHPA President Peter Fowler said the organisation applauds the $308 million commitment to reducing the cost of life-changing medicines for Australians by increasing access to the safety net for people who require multiple medications and looks forward to working with the incoming government.
“SHPA would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister and Coalition in forming government. We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Minister for Health to ensure Australians have access to high quality and safe medicines through the PBS program in Australian public and private hospitals,” he said.
“The Coalition made clear during its campaign that PBS medicines are a significant priority, and we look forward to what can be achieved for Australian patients with the additional listings.
“Medicine management remains an ongoing challenge with the transition of care from the acute setting to primary care presenting key challenges for health policy. With the implementation of My Health Record and associated electronic medical records, hospital pharmacists are well placed to reduce medication error and support better patient outcomes.
“SHPA will continue to work with the Department of Health on the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) and other funding mechanisms. This election has shown the importance of continued stability in sectors such as hospitals and healthcare and SHPA is keen to see that reflected in funding across pharmacy settings.”
Mr Fowler congratulated the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Morrison Government on the commitment to declare medicines safety a National Health Priority Area.
“Medicine safety is a key priority of pharmacists in hospitals where complex care is commonplace. We welcome greater recognition of this important area of work.”
Australian Medical Association: President Dr Tony Bartone said that there is “a lot of unfinished business” in the Coalition’s health reform agenda to be completed.
“We cannot stand still,” Dr Bartone said.
“The Government made it clear in the Budget that primary care and general practice will be a priority, and we welcome that.
“The private health insurance reforms need to be bedded down, and the integrity of the private health system and its symbiotic balance with public hospitals needs to be supported and maintained.
“The outcomes of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review need further consultation with the medical profession.
The AMA hopes that Prime Minister Scott Morrison keeps Greg Hunt as Health Minister and Ken Wyatt as Indigenous Health Minister. They are fully across their complex portfolios and the AMA has strong links with their offices and departments.
“There is plenty to do. There are clear consultative processes in place to ensure we can get straight back to the business of investing in the health of all Australians,” Dr Bartone said.
Australian Dental Association: “During the election the ADA was overwhelmed by feedback from both ADA branches around Australia and the public about the desperate need to provide oral health care to disadvantaged groups,” said Dr Carmelo Bonanno, President of the ADA.
“This is a critical area for the Coalition government, to address the needs of the disadvantaged, for whom public waiting lists mean their oral health declines while they wait to be treated.
“Everyone in Australia regardless of their ability to pay, should be able to receive dental care. Our goal is a robust model of a mix of affordable public and private dentistry which accommodates the dental needs of the whole community,” he said.