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Health professional politicians see most often


Media Release

28 July 2008

Pharmacists to be the health professional that politicians see most often in the election campaign

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand is urging its members, in approximately three quarters of all community pharmacies, to meet their local MPs and candidates in the lead up to the general election.

In a one page document sent to all members, the Guild identifies seven key issues facing the industry, proposed solutions and questions to ask MPs and candidates. The document was accompanied by a letter outlining 'Tips for pre election political discussions'.

"There is potential for community pharmacists to have a major role in improving the health of New Zealanders in the future."

"Politicians need to recognise the value that community pharmacists already make in the delivery of primary health care." says Guild Chief Executive Annabel Young.

Amongst the proposals, the Guild calls for:

• The creation of a 'Community Pharmacy Desk' within the Ministry of Health as there is currently no one responsible for leading and co-ordinating the development of policy affecting community pharmacy.

• An overhaul of the current subsidy rules to reduce the enormous compliance burden on pharmacists.

• A review of pharmacy legislation, particularly the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, to allow innovation in pharmacy practice.

• The Ministry of Health and DHBs to provide incentives for PHOs and pharmacies to work together - currently there is no requirement for PHOs to do so.

• Better use of pharmacists skills and a review of the sustainability of the pharmacy workforce

• The DHBs to be more flexible in promoting service innovation and trialling new concepts.

• The DHB review of the current pharmacy fee to be completed and implemented by March 2009, as is contractually required.

"Community pharmacists deserve a fair deal from the health system so they get on with what they do best - caring for the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders." says Ms Young.

ENDS

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