The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), together with PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, welcomes the election of the Hon. Anthony Albanese as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister and the Australian Labor Party’s election victory.
“PSA has always enjoyed a strong and productive working relationship with the ALP’s health team and is delighted to see pharmacist Emma McBride MP MPS retain the marginal seat of Dobell,” Associate Professor Freeman said.
“We look forward to working with the Hon. Mark Butler MP as the new Health Minister, to continue to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.
“Now is the time to ensure that access to health care remains universal, particularly for the most vulnerable of our population.
“Consumers need subsidised access to care – regardless of the health setting or health professional they choose to seek care from,” he said.
Ensuring fair access to influenza vaccines
Associate Professor Freeman continued: “Consumers still face out of pocket expenses for the administration of the influenza vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) if delivered by their pharmacists, whilst this same service is subsidised if done at a general practice.
“Given that pharmacies are one of our most accessible healthcare professionals, it is unacceptable for a consumer to be deprived of this subsidy when choosing to visit a pharmacist.
“The Australian Labor Party has committed to working with PSA and other stakeholders to address this inequity in healthcare access.
“Every State has now enabled pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines via the NIP influenza stock however consumers face out of pocket expenses for the administration of the vaccine.
“We have already seen early spikes in influenza cases in states such as Queensland, beyond that of pre-pandemic levels.
“This indicates we are heading into a significant influenza season this year, on the back of easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“Every State has now enabled pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines – including those funded under the NIP, however out of pocket expenses still remain, with the Federal Government shifting the cost of administration of the vaccine onto patients.
“If these disparities continue to exist, it will have dire consequences on Australia’s healthcare system, not only leaving patients out of pocket but also at risk of serious illness from influenza.”
Onsite Aged Care Pharmacists
“I am pleased that the Australian Labor Party has already acknowledged the central role that pharmacists play in medication management in residential aged care facilities, and their commitment to implement the 2022-23 Budget measure to improve medicine safety by funding onsite aged care pharmacists,” Associate Professor Freeman said.
“It is absolutely critical that the incoming government ensure that this model is collaborative, and that implementation allows flexibility for aged care service providers to determine how to secure pharmacist services. This is the only way to guarantee the best outcomes for aged care residents.
“PSA looks forward to working with the incoming ALP Health team on the implementation of this commitment, which will also provide exciting new career opportunities for Australian pharmacists.
“I would also like to thank the Coalition once again, and in particular outgoing Health Minister the Hon. Greg Hunt, for their leadership and management of the Covid-19 pandemic.”