Political support for community pharmacy

Updated: Nov 30, 2016

Political leaders reaffirm support for community pharmacy

Political leaders reaffirmed their commitment - made previously in pre-election letters - to community pharmacy and the current model during the Pharmacy Guild’s annual Parliamentary Dinner at Parliament House in Canberra last week.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull said: “… the established community pharmacy model continues to serve Australians well. Local community pharmacists are tuned in to the unique needs of their area, their community of which they are part and individual patients of whom they are friends and neighbours.”

Mr Turnbull, whose speech is available here, also said pharmacists played an essential role in addressing the emerging health challenge.

“People visit their local pharmacy for a range of reasons, from buying products to seeking advice. This increased contact offers an enormous opportunity for pharmacists to identify patients who have undiagnosed chronic and complex care needs and intervene early. You really are at the front line,” he said.

“The Pharmacy Diabetes Screening Trial is just one example that could see pharmacists identifying and referring to a GP some of the half a million plus Australians who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

“There are many opportunities, not just through the trial program, but also through the initiative and innovation of you, our pharmacists.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor supported the current system of community pharmacy.

“Including pharmacy ownership by pharmacists - it is the best means to achieve a network of community pharmacies providing that professional advice and support, the view of the patient as a whole person,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Shorten said the modern community pharmacy used different skill sets. The speech can be accessed here.

“You up-skill and train, you accept that the conclusion of your degree is only the start of the learning process for the betterment of your patients.”

He went on to say: “We in this country need your expertise and your leadership, more than ever, as we seek to enhance our health system’s focus on prevention, on primary care on accessibility and affordability.”

Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale addressed the potential role of community pharmacists in helping patients with chronic disease.

“We know that pharmacists could be playing a critical role in the health care of Australians with chronic illnesses – given you have millions of face to face interactions with them in pharmacies every day,” he said.

“Community pharmacists are some of the most trusted members of our communities. And the broader community is calling out for pharmacies to provide greater service to patients and the Greens are strongly supportive of that.”

On the Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Review Senator Di Natale said: “… the voice of pharmacists needs to be heard not just in debates around possible reform in community pharmacy, but in broader debates about primary care, private health insurance, of course PBS reforms. 2017 is going to be an exciting year with lots of opportunities for greater engagement with pharmacy in the health debate. We’ll see the healthcare home trial roll out, we’ll see the pharmacy review report and we’re also waiting on government responses to the life saving drugs program review and the senate inquiry report into new, innovative and specialist cancer drugs in Australia."

In the lead up to Federal Elections, including in July 2016, the Guild as a non-partisan organisation representing community pharmacy in Australia receives letter of support from the Leaders of political parties.

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Page last updated 23 February 2017