Professional Pharmacists Australia today welcomed the Pharmacy Guild’s announcement of a range of professional services that they would like to see delivered through Australia’s community pharmacies.
President of PPA, Dr Geoff March, said that the Guild's announcement demonstrated that they were at last listening to other pharmacy groups who have for some time been advocating for a broader role both within the four walls of a pharmacy, and outside those four walls.
“We are pleased to see the Guild calling role for increased professional services but the proof in this will be in the focus they put on this in the upcoming CPA negotiations,” Dr March said.
“It's an important step but said that this is just the start.
“The current CPA only sets aside $663 million, from $15.4 billion for the delivery of professional services ie just 4 per cent of the total CPA funding this is a third less than the funding allocated to wholesalers. If the Guild is serious about their call for a focus on primary health they need to address this imbalance.
“We welcome their announcement that a change in focus for community pharmacy also necessitates a re-examination of the business model of pharmacy and the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists.
“Traditionally the Guild has been unbending in their belief that pharmacists should only receive funding for services provided within the four walls of a pharmacy. While this benefits their 3,500 members it neglects the 20,000 other pharmacists in Australia.
“Equally, their call for a look the responsibilities and role of pharmacists must be matched by a commitment to lift remuneration for pharmacists. Increasingly pharmacists are being forced into jobs paying base award wages. Instead of attacking PPA for criticising this situation we again call on the Guild to work with us in attempting to address rates of pay.
“If community pharmacy is to play an increased role in health care we need to ensure pharmacists are adequately paid, or the best brightest and most capable will keep wanting to leave the profession.
“As many people in pharmacy know, increased funding for professional services must be matched by steps to properly audit and record these programs. Too many unscrupulous pharmacy operators are seeking to maximise profits by making a mockery of pharmacy services. As a profession we need to address these issues if we expect to build levels of respect in the broader community.
“We understand the detail has yet to be developed and support the Guild's plan to work with other organisations in the sector because any change will need to be beneficial not just for owners, but employee pharmacists and most importantly, patients.”