Prime Minister Scott Morrison has alluded to extending the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, at last night’s Guild Parliamentary Dinner
Guild members and industry stakeholders, as well as a number of politicians including Health Minister Greg Hunt, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, attended the dinner at Parliament House, Canberra.
In addressing the audience, the PM said that Mr Hunt had continued to work with the Guild on new reforms to deliver for community pharmacy, and that the Government hoped to continue to do so.
“We’ll be up front and talk about issues openly and honestly,” he said. “We’ll get them on the table, and then we’ll work them out together like we’ve always done.”
He said the Coalition Government wanted to deliver certainty to community pharmacy now and into the future, “and that includes delivering and extending – underlined – the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement.
“That’s a key part of what we want to deliver, as well as other measures to support community pharmacists.
“And they’re discussions we’re having right now.”
Mr Morrison signalled a May 2019 election, with the 2019-20 Budget, expected to be in surplus, to be handed down in April.
He praised pharmacists as health professionals and small business owners, and outlined a number of reforms the Coalition has made to support the sector.
“You fill a gap that no supermarket or megamart can ever fill,” he said.
“Today your capacity as frontline health professionals has never been more important. You are integrated health practitioners, delivering cancer screening, diabetes education, lung function testing, flu vaccinations – 11 million flu shots this year – and you work with local aged care facilities on dementia support.
“I’m a firm believer that expanding this community health care role as part of strengthening primary care across this country because you recognise the symptoms, you ask the questions, you provide some answers.
“You trigger the right early interventions that lead to behavioural change and positive outcomes, and I’d stress that that also extends to areas of mental health as well.
“So I think there’s a great opportunity to create even stronger linkages between pharmacists and GPs, working together to identify people with issues including mental health issues, dementia, and a raft of other conditions.”
Mr Morrison also outlined Government achievements such as making the location rules permanent; changing supply chain arrangements for high-cost medicines, in the 2018-19 Budget; and addressing payment terms for small and medium businesses.
Government has reduced its payment terms to 20 days and he is encouraging the states to match that, though NSW is “already there”.
“We’re calling on big businesses to do the same, because we don’t believe big businesses should treat small businesses like a bank.”
He said 700 pharmacies had claimed the instant asset write-off for businesses with a turnover of less than 10 million.
He also said the Coalition is committed to funding “every single” medicine recommended by the PBAC.
“We’re committed to it because we believe in it. In the 18-19 Budget we set aside a billion dollars over the next 4 years to make that happen.”