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Remuneration solutions are crucial if pharmacy is to achieve its potential: Jackson

Funding mechanisms need to be found or developed if community pharmacy is to reach its potential in terms of patient services and professional satisfaction, PSA national president Dr Shane Jackson says. 

Dr Jackson spoke at length to AJP at PSA18 in Sydney, where the peak professional body launched its new discussion paper that seeks to “identify and unlock” opportunities for increasing the scope and satisfaction of pharmacist practice. 

The PSA’s plan for Pharmacists In 2023: A Discussion Paper is to “seek the views of our members, the pharmacy profession, consumers and key stakeholders” to deliver an action plan by the end of 2018, he said. 

Dr Jackson said member feedback was that the PSA’s 10-year plan, announced at PSA17 last year was setting an agenda too far ahead and plan’s were needed for the shorter term.

He believes pharmacy is at a “tipping point” where there is growing recognition, awareness and receptiveness among the profession to undertake a broad range of professional services and practice roles, but that structural issues – especially around funding and remuneration – were still obstacles.

“We need to begin to examine an evolution of funding models and mechanisms that will allow us to expand programs like HMRs, for instance, or to undertake expanded ranges of service programs,” he said.

“I’ve been talking about having pharmacist prescribing as a reality by 2020 – by which I mean primarily script extension and adaptation – but to do this we’d need to have funding models.

“This would not necessarily be linked to fee for service, nor would it necessarily be best provided through an MBS number. It could be linked to pharmacists working in general practice settings or in aged care or Aboriginal health services.”

Dr Jackson said the crucial step was to have “robust and frank discussion” of the options and to develop a plan that could provide a blueprint for pharmacy’s future direction, to inform the 7CPA negotiation process, but also for areas of practice unrelated to this, or not included in the agreement. 

He also said PSA and other members of the Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF) had begun work on obtaining actual workforce data to identify if there was leakage of pharmacists from  the workforce and to get a clearer picture of the profession.

Dr Jackson welcomed pharmacists’ support for the My Health Record scheme. According to the latest data, 58% of pharmacy’s are signed up to the e-health record and he anticipates this will rise to 80% by the end of the year. 

Pharmacists in 2023

The PSA’s discussion paper includes 34 questions grouped around 3 key themes (with various sub-themes). These are:

*Embedding pharmacists wherever medicines are used (covering medication supply, medication management and collaborative care teams).

*Equipping pharmacists to enhance community access to health services (including vaccination, public health and prevention, pharmacist prescribing, health promotion and screening, improved use of technology, and pharmacist specialisation).

*Enabling system changes to ensure pharmacists’ roles are recognised, and that they are fully utilised and appropriately remunerated. 

Click here to see the discussion paper, including the list of questions. 

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