Not a retail sector

Date: 13 April 2022

Community pharmacy must be recognised as a health provider rather than being seen as part of the retail sector, the Shadow Health Minister, Mark Butler, believes.

Speaking at APP2022 recently, Mr Butler also said the need for pharmacists and other health professionals to be practising to their full potential was clear.

“I’m very clear in my mind - to deal with some language that is being used at the moment - that community pharmacy is not a retail service, it’s a health service,” he said.

“I’ve also been very clear right through my time back in the health portfolio, and I’ve been very public about this in a time of skyrocketing demand and plummeting workforce supply, it simply doesn’t make sense not to have every single health professional operating as close as possible to the top of their scope of practice.

“The precise details of that should not be arm-wrestled out by politicians - these are clinical questions that should be progressed maturely and collaboratively by all groups.”

Mr Butler also said the nation’s healthcare workforce problems would become even more challenging, as health professionals, who have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, feel burnout and as a result may look to changing careers.

“Other countries that are ahead of us on the COVID path are living what they call ‘the great retirement’, where scores of exhausted health workers take early retirement or simply shift sectors to find easier jobs,” he said.

“They’ve hung on for the first two years of the pandemic through a sense of mission, but they’ve just had enough - they’re spent, they’re done.

“We know every indication is we’re going to face that same great retirement from the health sector to some extent or another.

“Which is why we have to find ways to fully utilise the skills and training of every single one of our health professionals, and that includes pharmacists.”

Mr Butler also said medicines affordability was a major issue which needed to be looked at.

He pledged a Labor Government would negotiate with the Guild on finding solutions.

Contact: The Guild
Phone: 13GUILD

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Page last updated on: 13 April 2022