The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called for a number of actions to address the unique needs of the rural pharmacy workforce in response to the National Rural Health Commissioner’s Discussion Paper for Consultation: Rural Allied Health Quality.
PSA is urgently seeking to address these issues with the National Rural Health Commissioner and the Minister responsible for rural health to progress these actions for the benefit of rural and remote pharmacists.
The recommendations made by the PSA include:
- Identifying rural pharmacy workforce distribution, needs and opportunities
- Reviewing rural health workforce support programs and initiatives
- Fully utilising the infrastructure of community pharmacy through the delivery of a rural pharmacy strategic framework
- Investing in trials to implement innovative rural-based models to care by allowing greater flexibility in funding and delivery of pharmacist care tailored to rural and remote communities’ needs.
According to the PSA the discussion paper is not fit for purpose for rural pharmacy and for pharmacists that work in rural Australia.
As a result, it has called on the Health Commissioner to develop a discussion paper on ‘Rural Pharmacy Quality, Access and Distribution’.
PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman says that supporting practice within rural Australia through community pharmacy is a unique opportunity and calls for the development of flexible integrated services.
“Rural pharmacists are faced with unique challenges and PSA is calling for a tailored solution to ensure they are able to practise to their full scope and best manage the healthcare needs of their communities,” said Dr Freeman.
This is to ensure that rural community pharmacies are preserved and the level of service delivery that will help to minimise the gap between the outcome of rural patients and their urban counterparts is maintained.
“PSA holds great fears about the sustainability of, and therefore access to, pharmacy services within rural communities and now is the time for action,” Dr Freeman continued.