What’s next for Victoria?

Jenny Mikakos.
Jenny Mikakos.

Victoria has a new Health Minister in Jenny Mikakos, who has been welcomed to the role by the Guild and PSA

Jenny Mikakos will take on the vital role of Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, succeeding Jill Hennessy, who has been appointed as Labor’s first female Attorney General.

The Guild’s Victorian branch said it wanted to thank the outgoing Health Minister for her support of community pharmacy, particularly the authorisation of pharmacist immunisation, the investment behind the $29.5 million ‘Save 000 for emergencies’ public awareness campaign promoting community pharmacy in primary care, and the launch of the SafeScript real-time prescription monitoring system.

The Guild also wished to extend a warm welcome to Jenny Mikakos in her new role as Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services and said it looked forward to working together to deliver for community pharmacy.

The organisation added that it looks forward to continuing to maintain strong relationships and represent the interests of community pharmacy and patients over the coming Victorian parliamentary term.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working with Jill Hennessy and her team especially in the last few months to launch the SafeScript real time prescription system,” said Pharmacy Guild Victorian President Anthony Tassone.

“I would like to thank the Minister for her support of community pharmacy and congratulate her on her new role as Attorney General.

“We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with Minister Mikakos who has served most recently as the Minister for Families, Children and Youth Affairs.”

In the coming parliamentary term, the Victorian Branch of the Guild will in its advocacy focus on issues including:

  • Appropriate resourcing for treatment and support for drug addiction – for both illicit drugs and pharmaceutical medicines;
  • Expansion of scope vaccines that pharmacist immunisers are able to administer;
  • Authorisation of electronic versions of compliant National Residential Medication Charts to streamline delivery of prescription medicines to Residential Aged Care Facilities; and
  • Administration of pharmacy ownership laws by regulators to uphold its legislative intent of pharmacist only ownership of pharmacies.

The PSA also welcomed the appointment of Minister Mikakos and the return of Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley, and urged ministers to consider improving access to healthcare in Victoria by taking full advantage of the flexible and highly trained pharmacist workforce. 

PSA Victorian President Benjamin Marchant said, “We congratulate Minister Mikakos on her appointment and look forward to working with her to adopt innovative models of care that make better use of pharmacists’ skills and expertise.

“We will engage with Minister Foley on providing seed funding for a pilot of the shared care model for Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) services in Victoria.

“Licit and illicit drug abuse and misuse are a huge concern in the community and existing MATOD services are struggling to meet demand, so we are calling for a more sustainable model.”

Mr Marchant said PSA hopes Minister Foley will consider removing a key barrier to MATOD services by fully funding dispensing and management fees for patients.

PSA urged the government to allow Victorians to access the full range of National Immunisation Program vaccines through pharmacists.

“Pharmacists are the most frequently contacted health professionals in Victoria and have been providing vaccinations since 2016, so there are abundant opportunities for them to do more.”

PSA also said it is essential for the Government to appoint a Chief Pharmacist in Victoria to advise the Government, and provide coordination within the Department of Health and Human Services and with other stakeholders.

“We thank the outgoing Minister for Health Jill Hennessy for her outstanding contributions to pharmacy and the health system in Victoria,” Mr Marchant said.

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