Date: 8 November 2023
By Suzanne Greenwood, Executive Director
This will be my final column for Forefront as I step down as Executive Director at the end of November.
Having had some time to reflect on my time at the Guild I’m reminded of the words of Thomas Osbert Mordaunt, the 18th century British poet who wrote, “one crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name.”
I feel as though my four plus years at the Guild have been one crowded hour, going from one dynamic event and challenge to the next.
I arrived at the Guild in August 2019 and within months devastating bushfires were threatening entire towns in New South Wales and Victoria, including my own home in the bushland outside the ACT.
That meant pharmacies were also threatened with many having to close while staff and their families moved to safer areas.
This of course presented logistical challenges of trying to get extra medicines to areas affected by the fires. How do you care for patients when they have lost everything or are cut off from their homes? Community pharmacy was there for them.
In a matter of weeks after moving through that crisis we were presented with a once in a century pandemic which saw community pharmacies staying open when other healthcare providers didn’t.
As well, we were on the frontline of getting Australia open again, with our mammoth task of vaccinating more than 9 million Australians in 18 months.
Our role in helping Australia through some of its darkest moments in recent times is an achievement of community pharmacy for which I will be forever in awe.
And throughout the lockdowns of 2020, we were able to secure the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA), another proud achievement for the Guild and myself. Never did I imagine I would be involved in negotiating a CPA against the backdrop of a pandemic.
A more recent example of “never-a-dull moment” at the Guild has been the challenge of 60-day dispensing which has seen the Guild and its members being their most politically active in more than three decades.
The Government has agreed to bring forward the 8th CPA, and as I write this, negotiations proceed at pace.
This is another significant achievement by the Guild and its members as it is the first time in the 33-year history of the CPA, a government of any persuasion has agreed to an earlier start date.
I am looking forward to the 8th CPA being locked in.
I want to thank the vision-driven and inspirational team at the Guild for their hard work and dedication. A finer, more capable group of colleagues is unimaginable.
Under the stewardship of National President Professor Trent Twomey, and immediate past President George Tambassis, I have enjoyed a remarkable chapter in my career and I thank them and all National Councillors deeply for their support and courage through turbulent times.
I said at the time when I announced I was leaving the Guild that community pharmacy is at the heart of every healthy community.
Thanks to my time here it will also be in my heart for the rest of my life.
What a crowded hour it’s been.
Suzanne Greenwood with past and present national presidents. (L-R) Colin Johns, John Bronger, Kos Sclavos, George Tambassia and current president Trent Twomey
Contact: The Guild