From the Editor:
As the date for the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference (APPC) came up on the calendar, I was interested to see what was being publicised on their website in addition to the major items already released to various pharmacy media.
To my surprise I noticed the item highlighted in red text below and wondered who the paranoid person was who actually dreamed up the insert.
Siege mentality comes to mind.
But there must have been a reason that we poor unsuspecting pharmacists were unaware of.
Was it because some of the attendees may be too outspoken, or was it because some sensitive information needed to be "managed".
Managing information and exercising control of the media only occurs when you have something to hide, or more importantly, something that could be misconstrued as to motive.
So I decided not to attend this year because the refund for refusal of entry only extends to the refund of the registration fee and not to the costs of actually getting there or any other cost incurred e.g. locum services.
And this occurred just as we were giving the PGA a commendation for forming up a Memorandum of Understanding with the Friendly Society Pharmacies.
Two steps forward and one step backwards.
I began thinking thinking that I might qualify as one of the targets. Or maybe it was Charlie Benrimoj they were still smouldering about or again, maybe someone else who might publicly disclose some incompetence that is currently, or about to occur.
Mirixa, SureScript and eRx are programs that would be making PGA executives a bit nervous.
eRx is a big gamble and because it does not employ industry standards, is not likely to get traction from government sources.
SureScript will probably succeed because it is controlled by GP's who initiate the e-scripts in the first place.
Both charge up to 25c per script to pharmacists and no charge to doctors.
This is an enormous cost to the health system that is eventually attached to taxpayers and there are issues of privacy and sale of information that have yet to be disclosed.
Also, how the information is to be joined to a patient health summary (because prescriptions are a part of this) and has the issue of sharing privately and securely been solved.
Knowing the difficulties, I think that this issue will remain unresolved for some time yet and at a cost that is not necessary.
Mirixa is the other system being released.
A system that was not developed in Australia and will have to be utilised by pharmacy owners who already have difficulties in running existing clinical programs.
But battening down the hatches is a rather uncreative way of drawing attention to the fact that all is not well
and there is obviously something that must remain hidden.
From the APPC website
“WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
• Community pharmacists
• Hospital pharmacists
• Accredited pharmacists
• Pharmacy assistants
• Students and new graduates
• Pharmacy industry service providers
• Government officials and representatives
• Pharmacy trade press
• Other pharmaceutical and health-related industry professionals”
No problem with the list of attendees, but........
“The Guild reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone it sees fit,
including individuals who satisfy the above criteria.
This can occur without notice. In the event this is required a refund of the registration fee will be facilitated.”
From Karalyn Huxhagen:
As the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference (APPC) looms on the horizon there has been feverous activity to ensure pharmacy’s most well known commentators are delivering the ‘messages’ to the troops.
The addition to the APP conference manual this year “The Guild reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone it sees fit, including individuals who satisfy the above criteria.
This can occur without notice. In the event this is required a refund of the registration fee will be facilitated.” makes us all wonder whether a ‘leftist outrageous” faction is going to cause a ruckus at the pharmacy Guild’s premier conference.
Community pharmacy and the pharmacists who work in these pharmacies do need to speak up now.
Our esteemed leaders are currently deliberating and preparing their strategies for the 5th CPA .
Apart from the 5th CPA there are a lot of other areas currently being reviewed, evaluated and commented on and it is a busy time in Nicola Roxon’s office.
The "golden girl" has to provide a health portfolio that will deliver to all levels of consumers and she must meet the tough guidelines set down by her party leader and the Department of finance.
Her time is running out to stand and deliver and I am sure the next round of meetings for the Australian Healthcare agreements with the states and territories will be a very heavy meeting.
There is no doubt that Community Pharmacy is hurting.
Apart from PBS reform the basics of life have eroded the bottom line horrendously e.g. leases, utility costs, wage costs and the imposts of such wonderful programs such as the CSO.
The wholesalers are hurting so that hurt is being passed on as they renegotiate finance arrangements, wholesaling deals and other services they have provided over many years.
The stock shortages are acute and continual.
Everyone is currently blaming the manufacturers for this problem so are they hurting too?
The cost of utilities in Queensland has gone through the roof and the amalgamation of councils to large regional councils has seen a very large increase in land rates for many municipalities.
All of these costs plus PBS reform plus being expected to roll out programs with very little return on investment for community pharmacy, are taking their toll.
Professor Benrimoj and many others have warned that there has to be a deep and meaningful think tank put in place for the 5th CPA to ensure that pharmacists can start to see a return on investment for the programs we are being asked to deliver.
Of recent times I have not seen this message being dispersed to those who are charged with sitting at these negotiating tables.
In my opinion we all have to start being the radicals and saying enough is enough.
Many many pharmacies will go to the wall unless some very careful work is done to ensure community pharmacy starts to be compensated appropriately for the work it is putting into providing these services to the community.
Business plans and change management support has to become an integral part of these programs.
We can no longer do this work for very little to no return on investment.