Closing the Gap

Date: 30 March 2021

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia would like to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders for the way they have managed one of the most difficult and challenging years of our time.

They have demonstrated the leadership, resilience and community that have guided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout significant adversity during 2020, that is sure to leave an enduring legacy for future generations, and one that is recorded in the 2021 Close the Gap Report.

The 2021 Close the Gap Report – Leadership and Legacy Through Crises: Keeping our Mob safe (released on Thursday, 18 March), showcases how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, communities and peoples responded to critical health crises in 2020 – devastating bushfires and climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and the mental health emergency facing First Australians.

This year’s report was produced by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s community controlled national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, on behalf of the Close the Gap Steering Committee.

The Report advocates the need for strengths-based, community-driven responses to deliver health and wellbeing for the unique cultural, geographic and socio-economic needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

During the pandemic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, including several health leaders, also had the resolve to sign a New National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the Agreement).  The Agreement set out a strategy to close the gap that is strongly based on and underpinned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ priorities.

The Guild is working with stakeholders, including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Government, to design Indigenous pharmacy programs that will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equitable access to medicines, pharmacy programs and Quality Use of Medicines services.

Providing uncapped access to Dose Administration Aids for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a key measure in the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA), as is the commitment to enhance the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment measure. This commitment will be achieved by expanding the range of health care professionals who can register patients, enabling patients to register regardless of where they are located.

Workforce programs, such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Assistant Traineeship Scheme, are important in the provision of culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and have been retained in the 7CPA.

We look forward to the Australian Government releasing its Closing the Gap Implementation Plan in July 2021.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is a member of the Close the Gap campaign, an Indigenous-led movement calling for action on health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Contact: The Guild
Phone: 13GUILD

Previous Forefront article
Page last updated on: 15 June 2021