Guild’s response to Intergenerational Report

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says the Intergenerational Report (IGR) released on 24 August demonstrates the need for community pharmacies to work to their full scope of practice, to help Australia meet the growing demand on the health network and save billions of taxpayer dollars each year.

The report projects spending on health to grow from the current rate of 4.2% of GDP to 6.2% in 40 years’ time.

It also says, “It will be important to ensure that the health system provides value for money. This requires a health system that innovates and prioritises funding a patient-centred and sustainable Australian healthcare system that delivers the best outcomes for communities” (Intergenerational Report 2023, p151).

In welcoming the report Pharmacy Guild National President Professor Trent Twomey says it shows the urgent need to enable pharmacists to work to their full scope of practice, by treating and prescribing medicine for uncomplicated conditions (such as urinary tract infections) as they do overseas.

“Pharmacists doing more not only benefits patients, it also takes the pressure off our health system and benefits the economy not just now but for future generations,” says Professor Twomey.

“Treatment for many non-urgent presentations to emergency departments are within the scope of practice of pharmacists and can easily be dealt with at a community pharmacy.

“This frees up emergency beds and waiting times to see a GP who can focus on complex and complicated health conditions.”

A recent EY report found that increasing the role of community pharmacies in treating everyday health conditions could:

  • Reduce hospital stays by 352,000 days per annum.
  • Free up 52,000 hours of Emergency Department capacity annually and
  • Improve GP waiting times by alleviating the need for 6.5 million GP presentations each year.

The report also estimated the annual economic benefit of increasing the role of community pharmacies in treating everyday health conditions to be $5.1 billion across the nation.

Text: Guild. 

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