The Interim Report correctly identifies the challenges of the current approach and makes a strong case for the need to change. This is not to say that the current system fails consumers or that it is a system in disarray, Indeed we know from the many surveys done by the Pharmacy Guild and others including our own 2015 survey, people value community pharmacy and see it as a vital element of our national health infrastructure. Consumers also have a high regard for pharmacists.
Overall CHF believes most of the options in the Interim Report, if put into place, would lead to a more consumer centred community pharmacy sector that is sustainable in the long run. If most of the options were implemented the community pharmacy sector would be better placed to deal with population shifts, ever increasing rates of technological change and workforce changes in pharmacy as well as the changing health system landscape with its greater emphasis on collaboration and integrated care. It would also help clarify and more centrally position pharmacy’s place as an integral part of the primary health team. We have identified a couple of areas where we think the report could have said more, particularly in the use of technology and addressing after hours services.
In this submission we have concentrated on those areas where we know consumers have concerns and those which we think are critical to move to a modern health system. We do not address all the options in detail in the body of the submission but Appendix 1 shows our positions on all of the options with some comments.