Professional Pharmacists Australia has called for the Pharmacy Guild to make clear whether it is receiving CPA funds for taking over the administration of 5CPA Programs from the Department of Health.
President of Professional Pharmacists Australia Dr. Geoff March said that much of the criticism of last week’s announcement of caps on HMRs and Medschecks, came from the fact that the changes also involved The Guild taking over the administration of the registration and payment of all 5CPA programs.
Dr. March said that he had been contacted by many community pharmacists who had genuine questions and concerns about the new arrangements.
“A big part of the concerned response of pharmacists to the changes announced last week was the heavy-handed nature of the announcement, the mystery around the arrangements and the total lack of consultation.
“The Guild’s changes certainly raised more questions than they answered. We call on the Guild to remedy the genuine concerns of pharmacists by revealing the details of how these programs will be administered.
“It is clear that greater transparency around the Guild’s new arrangements would clarify the situation for many.
“Community pharmacists want to ensure that efficient and effective programs that are focussed on patient health, remain the number one priority in community pharmacy. Therefore, it is important for the Guild to reveal if it is charging or receiving administration fees for these programs, and if funds are coming out of CPA funding.
Dr March explained that pharmacists wanted to understand that if the Guild was receiving taxpayer money (no matter its source) for providing these services, how the figure was determined, how it will be audited and how it would be reported.
“If while taking away the ability of pharmacists to perform HMRs, which are of documented benefit to patients, and reducing their ability to support themselves as accredited pharmacist, the Guild have engineered a situation where they receive a cut of CPA funds – they should be clear about this. If this is what is happening how do we know it is the most cost effective and efficient method of administering the programs?” Dr March said.
“If there has been a significant blow out in the budget for these professional services then the Guild should have facilitated broad consultation around the best way to deal with the situation.
“For example are there other areas of the CPA that money could have been taken from that would not have had a negative impact on patients, for example administration fees?
“Equally, it was difficult to take that at the same time as reducing money for non-owner pharmacists through capping HMR’s the Guild increased money for pharmacy owners through the Electronic Prescription Scanning Incentive.
“This type of decision only creates the view among non-owner pharmacists that the Guild is solely motivated by looking after their members’ financial interests at the expense of non-owners’ professional responsibilities.
“The fact that the Guild is now claiming that only 97 accredited pharmacists will be impacted by the decision and is blaming what they call ‘business entities’ for the blow out lends further weight to that view,” Dr March said.