The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has made a series of recommendations to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation that would deliver improved patient outcomes and sustain local community pharmacies into the 2020s and beyond.
The Pharmacy Review is being conducted by a three-member panel appointed by the Federal Government under the terms of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA). The Guild submission is in response to the Discussion Paper issued by the Review Panel in July.
Community pharmacies enjoy very high levels of public trust and support. Time and again, qualitative and quantitative research has confirmed that community pharmacies consistently meet the needs and expectations of consumers.
The Guild strongly supports the tried and tested community pharmacy model, which is underpinned by Location Rules that ensure that Australians have high levels of accessibility to medicines through a well-distributed network of community pharmacies that are owned by pharmacists who have a professional obligation to deliver quality health outcomes for their patients.
However, there is always room for improvement. The sensible approach is to maintain and build upon a system that works well, so that it works even better in the future. Accordingly, the Guild sees the Review as an opportunity to demonstrate and build on the benefits of the existing community pharmacy model, which is one of the most successful and sustainable parts of our health system.
Some of the recommendations made by the Guild are:
On the future of community pharmacy, the Guild submission makes clear that the predicted growth in the number of Australians living with complex, multiple morbidities, means that the clinical health role of community pharmacy in maximising medicine adherence and the quality use of medicines will be increasingly important.
As is occurring in other countries, more and more community pharmacies will specialise in providing medicines and broader health services, support and advice for patients with specific chronic health conditions, addressing the needs of their local communities.
The focus of community pharmacies on particular chronic health conditions will align with consumers’ increasing demand for holistic health solutions. Informed and empowered consumers will seek out health providers that are able to organise and deliver solutions that are likely to encompass a combination of prescriptions, pharmacy-only medicines, over-the-counter and complementary health products, medicine-related services, health and wellbeing support, and remote and in-pharmacy health monitoring.
As well as playing an enhanced role in chronic disease management and the delivery of broader health solutions, the community pharmacy of the future will increasingly become a preferred location for the treatment of minor ailments, vaccinations, preventive health, health checks and risk assessments, self-care and the tackling of health and lifestyle issues.
The submission is available at guild.org.au/pharmacy-review
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