Tuning out the “noise” – but it’s action time!

Many pharmacists from all walks of pharmacy life have become concerned at the depth, breadth and the number of critics that have emerged from the “woodwork”, launching their own version of vitriol and having it hurled it at the pharmacy profession as negatively as possible.

During this contrived unprofessional “storm in a teacup” (and it is just that), pharmacists need reminding of a number of realities (and agendas):

* The Murdoch Press is supporting the Liberal Party in Australia and will have its own deals and agendas organised.
In return, Murdoch has to soften up targets that the government chooses e.g. pharmacy.
That agenda is quite clear!

* The Fairfax Press has Roger Corbett on its board,
Do you remember Roger?
He was the person who led the assault for Woolworths to own pharmacies over many years.
Although he is no longer on the Woolworths board it is now opportune for him to join the chorus line against pharmacy that is seemingly getting longer by the day.
He still wants open ownership for supermarkets.
That agenda is also quite clear!

Tony Abbott has a history of not being truthful about any policies he has tried to launch since winning his recent election, and has caused dissention in his own ranks and the community groups affected by his often “way out” policy attempts, mostly directed towards vulnerable people in our community.
The recent debacle with doctor co-payments is an example and one where he freely admits that he made mistakes and does not want to fight doctors.

This does not mean that he has changed his mind – only his process.

Liberals seem to favour “the big end of town” and all the economic rationalists attach themselves to the “big end” cause.
They prefer a discounted price rather than a value service – even though they continue to pay higher “discounted” prices for a result that is never satisfactory because it is devoid of any quality (and results).

So we have the 6CPA negotiations with both sides jockeying for a viable position and a crescendo of background preliminary noise.
This is no different to previous years, but this time around it seems louder and more vindictive.

Perhaps the noise is louder because Tony Abbott does not want a full frontal conflict with pharmacy (and risk another giant-sized petition because that is unsettling to all politicians) and so is more comfortable using a range of loud camp-followers.
All the camp-followers tend to jump on the bandwagon with all their respective agendas so it becomes a bit messy and competitive.
Even the medical profession are on board with their fictitious “turf war” narratives.
You would have to ask what their real purpose is for all this activity?

Billionaire newspaper executives criticising government for creating millionaire pharmacists, and all the economic rationalists (the fronts for big business) becoming irrational talking heads spouting rubbish.
A form of verbal diarrhoea outpouring if you like.

Behind all the smokescreen are the people that really matter – genuine hard-working coalface pharmacists and customers/patients that value pharmacists (nearly 90% of the population) and rate us very highly in respect of ethics and honesty compared to lowly ratings of newspaper proprietors/journalists and politicians.
It’s just that they have a louder voice than pharmacists.

Pharmacists form a family-type community and as such are entitled to have robust debates about the content of pharmacy – their pharmacy – because they want to be the best they can be, at all times.
That process is legitimate.
For a government that uses its political capital, to influence media and special interest groups, and to tear down pharmacy aspirations through the back door as a “softener” for 6CPA negotiations, that is both dishonest and illegitimate.

The best strategy for pharmacists and overall pharmacy is to deprive media of their oxygen (information) and quietly settle in behind and support pharmacy groups best suited to taking the fight up to government.

For the moment, whether you agree or not, that is the PGA as negotiators for the 6CPA and PSA in tandem.
They have the experience and the political savvy to deal with government and their agencies.
They need all of pharmacy support to draw strength and direction from.

In turn, we ask that for that support the PGA begin to acknowledge support for other sectors of the world of pharmacy, particularly clinical pharmacists, and give back the voice that has been usurped.

Otherwise there is potential for long-term instability that could be avoided by trading some legitimate ground for the short-term, to ensure a stable profession for the long haul.

For that assurance, all pharmacists would be prepared to quietly put aside any internal differences and give full support to any pharmacy organisation, agency or group that needs it.

Now we have a call for action from the PSA urging their members to begin lobbying at multi-levels – and everyone should be talking about the dishonesty of media reports and the quality of so-called academic studies that are being generated to provide more fuel for a dishonest mainstream media.
It’s time to fight back!

PSA members urged to act over Community Pharmacy Agreement

The Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has issued a call to action to its 18,000 members to ensure the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) provides the best possible outcomes for consumers and the profession.

In an unprecedented move reflecting the Society’s concern about ensuring a positive outcome for consumers, government and pharmacy in the 6CPA, the PSA Board has urged its members to seek meetings with their local Members of Parliament and Senators to voice their concern.

The PSA Board has reminded its members the Government needs to bring certainty to patients’ access to medicines and pharmacists professional services across Australia, and also to address issues raised in the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report. It says a robust and publically accountable 6CPA is essential.

The PSA has been working with the Pharmacy Guild to develop options for the 6CPA, including the need for appropriate dispensing remuneration for pharmacies plus a significant increase to develop/deliver professional services and programs. The Board has suggested that among the issues its members may wish to discuss with their politicians are:

  • A reasonable 6CPA is required to ensure consumer needs are met through a viable community pharmacy network, with pharmacists delivering high-quality services and continued access by Australians to essential medications.
  • There have been substantial savings generated through the last CPA, and at least $1.4 billion is required in Part B of the next agreement (the section dealing with professional services and programs), as well as a stable dispensing remuneration base to ensure continued QUM for patients.
  • The recent ANAO report raised a number of issues that should be addressed in the 6CPA. The PSA has offered to assist Government address many of these issues, to ensure delivery of better outcomes for patients, for example:
    • o    A more effective evaluation framework and a stronger approach to the collection of meaningful patient outcomes – to ensure public accountability in the 6CPA
    • o    Assistance to pharmacists in actually implementing services – to ensure patients at the grass roots actually receive quality services
    • o    Consideration of pharmacists’ role in achieving cost effectiveness and efficiencies in the broader health system – for example through improved GP/pharmacists collaboration, pharmacy minor ailment services and progressing patient eHealth solutions.

But above all, use all your available time to plan your future of pharmacy.

i2P has been churning out sufficient in thought leadership and new ideas to create a revolution.
But a revolution without commitment is nothing!

So it gets back to you, the individual.

Are you part of a revolution or just an interested bystander?

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