Time running out for ‘anomalous’ cohealth pharmacy


concerned cohealth Collingwood patient holds up sign in support of the pharmacy

A unique community-driven, not-for-profit pharmacy at cohealth Collingwood may be forced to close its doors on 31 December leaving vulnerable people stranded.

The AJP reported on the possible fate of the pharmacy in May.

For more than 20 years cohealth Collingwood has operated a streamlined, integrated doctor/pharmacy service in the one building, the service says – priding itself on better health outcomes, cheaper health care, good medication management and efficient service delivery.

Because the pharmacy is an anomaly, its funding was cut by the Government in its 2015 budget and will cease in a little over two weeks, on 31 December.

Following appeals from cohealth and a community campaign, Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley has expressed a commitment to the continued operation of the pharmacy.

Minister Ley requested that cohealth seek alternate arrangements by registering as a ‘community pharmacy’ which would allow cohealth to access the mainstream PBS funding and continue operations at Collingwood.

However with the funding cut-off deadline looming, and no commitment to provide bridging funding, cohealth Chief Executive Lyn Morgain says she is very concerned about the ability of the service to continue.

“It would be a terrible waste if having come this far, this shining example of primary health care was forced to close,’ Morgain says.

“On Wednesday we will hold our fourth meeting to update the community and the news we will have to deliver is looking decidedly grim.

“Given the support the Minister has expressed in the past, I’m really surprised that it has come to this and I urge the Federal Government to support us with bridging funding before it’s too late.”

cohealth plans to hold a community meeting on Wednesday 16 December, at 10.30am at 365 Hoddle Street Collingwood.

Speaking at the meeting in support of the pharmacy will be the Federal Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt MP, State Member for Richmond, Richard Wynne MP and cohealth Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain.

The meeting will be attended by many members of the local community who come from all walks of life, rely on the pharmacy for their health and wellbeing and who continue to be very concerned about its future.

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