The Pharmacy Guild of Australia welcomes the Federal Budget announcement of measures that will help community pharmacies as frontline healthcare providers and small businesses, while also addressing specific concerns for regional, rural and remote patients.
Professor Trent Twomey, the National President of the Guild says the Budget is a positive move towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
He adds that the “$35.8 million being allocated towards the temporary community pharmacy program to administer vaccines to patients in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the rollout” is testament to the “important role community pharmacy” in the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
Age care boost
Speaking about the $17.7 billion boost over four years to the aged care sector, Professor Twomey says this is an important advance; however, the opportunity to better utilise community pharmacists in support of at-home care needs to be pursued.
“The Guild has urged the Government to commit to greater funding for pharmacists to supply dose administration aids to ageing patients who are able to stay at home.
“This is important to ensure medication adherence for these vulnerable patients, and we are disappointed this has not been factored into the aged care package at this stage.
“We will, however, continue to work with the Government on this proposal,” says Professor Twomey.
The other standout Budget allocations welcomed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia include:
- The provision of $3.9 million to continue the Take Home Naloxone (THN) pilot program for a further 12 months. This program provides medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose or adverse reaction to at-risk Australians.
- The allocation of $120 million to help reduce the regulatory burden of business interactions with Government.
- Expenditure of $421.6 million for improving the My Health Record and supporting small and medium enterprises to expand their digital capability.
- The focus on programs for women.
“As small businesses, the burden of dealing with Government can be a very heavy and time-consuming one,” says Professor Twomey.
“Anything which makes these interactions easier, and frees pharmacists to spend more time with patients, is indeed welcome.
“The announcement that businesses with a turnover of up to $5 billion until June 2022 will immediately be able to write off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase for their business is a boost for pharmacies across Australia.
“The Guild is also pleased to see expenditure of $421.6 million for improving the My Health Record and supporting small and medium enterprises to expand their digital capability.
“The evolution of digital operating and prescribing systems in community pharmacy is continuing, and any improvement in the access and workability of My Health Record is a very positive move.”
Professor Twomey adds that the Guild also welcomes the Budget focus on programs for women, which he says is “long overdue”.
“The community pharmacy profession boasts a workforce of more than 60% women and this trend is accelerating with some two-thirds of graduates being women,” says Professor Twomey.