|Media Release by Pharmacy Guild of Australia: Rudd’s health reforms an opportunity for pharmacists
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes the announcement that the Federal Government will take full policy and funding responsibility for hospital, GP and primary health care services in Australia, through the National Health and Hospitals Network, presents a “once in a generation opportunity for community pharmacy”.
Specifically, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s historic move will open the way for community pharmacy to negotiate funding for professional pharmacy programs to be delivered in both private and public hospital pharmacies.
Internationally, Australia is seen as a leader in community pharmacy professional programs. The primary reason for this is that the Pharmacy Guild is able to negotiate such programs with a single entity – namely the Federal Government. These include programs implemented in private hospital pharmacies, which the Pharmacy Guild also represents.
The difficulty in the public hospital sector prior to this announcement, however, is that the Pharmacy Guild’s sister organisations, which represent those pharmacies located in public hospitals, have the extraordinary burden of having to negotiate with eight different State and Territory governments. Further complicating the process is that, in some instances, they even have to deal with much smaller sub-regional authorities.
The opportunity arising from the Prime Minister’s announcement comes from the nationally consistent approach to hospital funding that will result. This will allow systemised national professional pharmacy programs, which could be taught as part of university programs, in addition to skills upgrade for existing registered pharmacists, and actioned in their various hospital settings.
The Pharmacy Guild acknowledges that, while the new National Health and Hospitals Network will be primarily concerned with funding, the management of these services will be performed by local networks. That said, the Pharmacy Guild believes that, with funding and performance measures being controlled at the Federal level, the Government could stipulate a requirement for professional pharmacy program standardisation.
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