Pharmacists flush with funding while doctors and patients get frozen out
AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, this week questioned the Government’s decision to dramatically increase funding to the pharmacy sector under the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, while doctors and patients are subject to a Medicare patient rebate freeze until 2018.
Dr Parnis said that pharmacy will receive a guaranteed 4.54 per cent increase each year for five years and that the handout to pharmacies also includes an extra $600 million for ‘support programs for patients’.
“This is a lot of money for programs that are yet to be devised. We have seen past proposals and worry about fragmentation of patient care because these pharmacy ‘services’ may not add any value to patient outcomes,” Dr Parnis said.
Dr Parnis noted that pharmacists are not medically trained to provide medical services, nor are they indemnified to do so. He said the best primary care is provided by the local family doctor, the GP – the most cost-efficient part of the health system.