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Guild sees potential for community pharmacy in health budget

MEDIA RELEASE

15 May 2014

Guild sees potential for community pharmacy in health budget

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) can see potential for community pharmacy with the funding the Government has allocated to the health sector in the announcement of the 2014 budget today.

Health Minister, Tony Ryall said “Budget 2014 is making available $1.8 billion for health over four years for new initiatives and to meet cost pressures and population growth.

“District Health Boards will have about $320 million available next year for extra services and to help meet cost pressures and population changes.”

The Guild is hopeful that community pharmacy, as the health professional people see most often, will be considered in these new initiatives and as a provider of new services to help improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealand’s communities.

Guild Chief Executive, Lee Hohaia says “There are some positive outcomes from the budget announcement today that will hopefully have a positive effect on community pharmacy and our patients.

“The $90 million investment in free doctor visits and prescriptions for children under 13 is a big win for communities. We welcome this initiative as it will be of significant help to families struggling to cover medical costs and pay co-payments for their children’s medicines.

The Guild has always supported the targeting of co-payments, and is pleased to see this being applied to children under 13. We would welcome further extension of this targeting to other at risk groups such as the elderly and high deprivation communities.

“We are pleased that additional funding is being provided to support rural general practices. We trust that there will be funding to support rural community pharmacy to enable the full benefit of the additional general practice funding to be realised.

“The $20 million increase in funding for the rheumatic fever prevention programme is a potential highlight for community pharmacy. Community pharmacy is ideally placed to support the identification and management of at-risk groups and the Guild would strongly advocate for community pharmacy to receive additional funding to provide accessible services to high risk communities.

“Pharmacists are also ideally placed to provide medicines adherence support to the elderly with dementia and we hope with increased funding we will be able to work with the funder to provide this support.

“The value of pharmacy has also been acknowledged, with pharmacy being one of four science- based subjects chosen to receive extra funds from the tertiary education budget.

“We understand that the contribution to cost pressure passed on to the DHBs and to community pharmacy services is low. We will continue to advocate for fair funding to ensure the sustainability of community pharmacy as an important and accessible health care service in the community.”

ENDS

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