PSA reminds Coalition of commitments

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) looks forward to working with the re-elected Morrison government to address medicine safety, negotiating the next Community Pharmacy Agreement and delivering better healthcare for all Australians.

“PSA’s ‘Pharmacists in 2023’ report shows how an evolved healthcare system can empower pharmacists to provide more effective and efficient services,” PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said. “Prior to the election, PSA asked the government to commit to several actions to make this possible.”

In response to pre-election commitment requests from the PSA, the Morrison government made a number of important commitments to PSA and the pharmacy profession.

“A re-elected Morrison government will continue to support the pharmacy profession in meeting community health needs by ensuring that pharmacists are utilised to their full scope of practice,” incumbent Health Minister Greg Hunt said on behalf of the Coalition.

Importantly, the Morrison government endorsed the ‘Pharmacists in 2023’ report.

“The Morrison government agrees with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s vision for the pharmacy profession outlined in the ‘Pharmacists in 2023’ report,” Dr Freeman said. “This is in recognition that it will improve outcomes for patients, the profession and for Australia’s health system.

“PSA looks forward to progressing fair remuneration for pharmacists in recognition of their professional contribution in supporting people’s health – a key action from our ‘Pharmacists in 2023’ report.

“Pharmacists are underpaid, noting their key role in healthcare. This needs to be addressed as we head into negotiations for the next Community Pharmacy Agreement.

“PSA received a commitment from the Coalition to declare medicine safety a National Health Priority Area as requested by the PSA through our federal budget submission and in response to PSA’s’ Medicine Safety: Take Care’ report which highlighted that $1.4 billion is lost annually in our healthcare system because of safety issues associated with medicines.”

In his response on behalf of the Coalition, Mr Hunt said the Coalition would work through the Council of Australian Governments Health Council with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, PSA and key stakeholders to support the initiation of this priority. This commitment highlights the pivotal role PSA will play in shaping the future of medicine safety in Australia.

Dr Freeman says PSA will engage with the government on aligning the incentives for pharmacists to support rural and remote communities with those of other health practitioners, adding that Australians living in rural and remote areas are more likely to have chronic conditions and poorer health outcomes than people in major cities.

“Pharmacists could play a much greater role in rural and remote areas, where they’re often one of the only health providers,” he said. “It’s only logical that the incentives for other health professionals should be available to pharmacists as well.

“All of these commitments, if fulfilled, will further unlock the potential of pharmacists and allow them to improve healthcare access and outcomes for Australians, and reduce variabilities in care.”

“PSA looks forward to working closely with the Morrison government and Minister Hunt, with whom we have an excellent working relationship, to make full use of pharmacists’ expertise and clinical training to improve access to care and medicine safety for all Australians,” Dr Freeman said.

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