Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, has announced that he will not contest his seat of Flinders at the next election.
This will end an era of extraordinary development and challenge for the Health Ministry, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.
National President of the Guild Trent Twomey acknowledges Mr Hunt’s announcement, saying Mr Hunt is an outstanding Minister and leader in the health sector.
“Of course, Mr Hunt will remain Minister until the election, whenever that is, but it is appropriate that with his retirement announcement that we reflect on his time as Health Minister,” says Mr Twomey.
“At the Guild we have had very close dealings with the Minister and have found his commitment to patients and to universal healthcare to be unwavering.
“But as Minister he has had to balance that with the pragmatism of budgets and other Government imperatives.
“In the five years he has been Minister for Health he has brought more medicines onto the PBS, thus enabling more Australians access to the medicines they need.
“His focus on improved patient outcomes was reflected in the negotiations for the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement which were the toughest of any agreement.
“But underlying the tough negotiations was the determination of the Minister and the Guild to achieve an outcome that ensured patients and patient wellbeing were the centrepiece of any final agreement.
“He is a great advocate for the community pharmacy sector and recognises the pivotal role pharmacists play as primary healthcare providers improving the health outcomes of communities across all areas of Australia.
“And of course, over the past two years he has been at the vanguard of Australia’s response to the pandemic, all the while continuing to address the other imperatives of the ministry,” he says.
Mr Twomey praises Mr Hunt for his willingness to listen and engage health stakeholders.
“The Minister is always accessible and will listen to ideas and arguments, and quickly grasp the complexities of issues.
“His knowledge and understanding of the wide range of issues in his portfolio is legendary and has helped him to achieve the reforms and progress that are characteristic of his ministry,” says Mr Twomey.