The week in review

A new year, a new Health Minister and pharmacy stakeholders look to the future…

January is a time of new beginnings, and this week began as we anticipated change: we knew there’d be a new Minister for Health and Sport announced soon, but who would it be?

Early reports seemed to indicate that the front-runner was Senator Arthur Sinodinos, who acted in the role following Sussan Ley’s resignation; however on Wednesday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the job would go to Greg Hunt, formerly the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

The Guild, PSA and other stakeholders welcomed the appointment, but AJP readers don’t seem entirely convinced.

Meanwhile, the Guild and PSA looked to the future, urging the Government to give pharmacy a key role in Health Care Homes; hospital pharmacists received a big cheer as they were shown to reduce medication error rates, and the AMA said it supports Victoria’s pharmacist chronic disease trial.

Some issues from 2016 and earlier remain, however. It looks like the issue of stock shortages isn’t going to be left in the past, as the metformin supply crisis continues. The 2015-16 AHPRA data showed a 20% spike in complaints against health professionals.

And PPA said it was “putting owners on notice” to pay their pharmacists their correct entitlements, citing cases where employee pharmacists had been underpaid by thousands.

AJP readers told us recently that you’re hoping for significant changes in the new year. While we wait to see what new challenges the year brings, AJP would like to know what you think are the most important issues facing Australian pharmacy in 2017. Vote in our poll, and let us know!

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