Hunt details commitment to pharmacy

Date: 13 April 2022

Health Minister Greg Hunt has described how he and his office needed to overrule some people in the bureaucracy to have elements of the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement implemented.

Speaking at APP2022 on the Gold Coast, Mr Hunt said the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement involved an $18.35 billion investment – $16 billion in dispensing fees, $1.2 billion in programs, and  $1.15 in terms of the community service obligations and other related elements.

“But most importantly, it carried with it two other things,” he said.

“One is indexation, so as you can see that income was increasing over the five-year period.

“But two, it addressed the challenge that George [Tambassis, then Pharmacy Guild National President] and I talked about on the very first day of Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

“And again, there are those within the bureaucracy who found that this was an extraordinary position to take, and that is we built a floor under the pharmacy remuneration, created what is sometimes known as the floor or a ceiling to provide certainty to everybody going forward. So that's what the remuneration adjustment means.

“What does this mean? It means that there’s a guaranteed minimum income.

“It means that you can plan. It means that we did a unique agreement, that, to the best of my knowledge, and certainly on every advice of the Department of Finance gave me, this was, unique for any long-term agreement that the Government had done with any medical organisation in Australian history.

“And that again was done in the belief that underpinning support for community pharmacy, as you supported the community, was immensely important.”

Mr Hunt also detailed plans to for pharmacies to play “a fundamental role in dispensing medicines and being embedded within our residential aged care facilities following the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

There would be “$345 million commencing on 1 January 2023 over the next four years to support pharmacy involvement.

“And over the next six months, we'll work in a period of co-design, with the Guild and with other elements across our health system to design and to implement that model.

“But embedded pharmacy within aged care, with a $345 million contribution, will make a difference to saving lives, and protecting lives, and improving lives in aged care.”

He concluded his speech with praise for community pharmacists.

“The very last thing I want to do is to say to everybody who’ve been on the frontline, to all of you who have been there through the pandemic, to all of you who have been supporting older Australians and people with mental health challenges and people who are lonely, as, and I couldn't do this without mentioning this: as the grandson of Phyllis Grant, one of the first female pharmacists in Australia, I look out and it has been my honour to help support you, support the community.

“But I respect you, I honour you, and above all else, I thank the pharmacists of Australia.”

Mr Hunt received a standing ovation from delegates.

Contact: The Guild
Phone: 13GUILD

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Page last updated on: 13 April 2022