Week in review

Pharmacists have had a tough week…

First, there was that tribunal ruling which found: “A person served by a pharmacist is not a patient but a customer.”

The ruling was – of all things – about parking space allotments for a new medical centre.

However what got pharmacists concerned was the legal ramifications and potential precedent the ruling could set.

They also shared how such a statement “demeaned the profession” among other things (see what AJP readers said here).

And if you thought things couldn’t get worse, a report released on Tuesday by the Productivity Commission, an advisory body and agency of the Federal Government, suggested community pharmacists be replaced with automatic dispensing and a sub-class of supervisors.

“A new model of pharmacy would adopt now-available technology – for example, e-scripts and machine dispensing of drugs – and recognise retailing as incompatible with a genuine clinical function for pharmacists,” the report stated.

The Pharmacy Guild completely rejected the recommendations, while SHPA and PSA said the recommendations were a “major concern”.

“PSA agrees that change offers the potential for serious gains in the healthcare system, but we see the method of achieving this change differently to that of the Productivity Commission,” said PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson.

“Community pharmacy is a vital network of healthcare that should be invested in rather than be diminished,” he said.

And past Guild president Kos Sclavos condemned the Productivity Commission as “gutless” and “heartless” speaking at the Pharmacy Assistant conference on the Gold Coast.

AJP also revealed that pharmacists received $1.2 million in compensation in the past 12 months alone, mainly due to award underpayments and non-payment of entitlements, according to Professional Pharmacists Australia.

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