The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes yesterday’s NSW state budget, which committed $33 billion in health funding to increase capacity after more than two years of crisis.
However, PSA NSW President Chelsea Felkai says the 2022-23 Budget has missed the opportunity to recognise pharmacists for being on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic clearly showed how workforce shortages impact healthcare delivery, and pharmacy is not immune to this,” Ms Felkai said.
“All NSW healthcare workers were on the front lines of the pandemic response, yet pharmacists have missed out on critical support from the state government.
“Doctors, nurses and ambos are entitled to a $3000 cash ‘thank-you’ for their work during the pandemic yet there is no support for pharmacists despite being on the front line of the health response and facing similar challenges to other health services.
“Cash handouts are great, but what the NSW health sector needs is more support from the state government to innovate the way we deliver healthcare.
“The health sector’s response to the challenges of the pandemic has highlighted the skill and dedication of pharmacists, and has proven how much more we can contribute when supported by government.
“PSA has been consistently pushing for the NSW Government to facilitate non-urgent care in community pharmacies, reducing pressure on emergency department resources.
“NSW hospitals have been under significant pressure for far too long. Our pharmacists have the skills and expertise to treat non-urgent conditions like minor wounds, aches and pains, gastrointestinal conditions, skin conditions, and other low urgency conditions.
“Between 3 and 11.5 per cent of all emergency department services in Australia could be safely transferred to a community pharmacists or GP. Not only would this reduce to costs of NSW hospitals, but it would also reduce pressure on wait times for those who need urgent emergency care the most.
“When working collaboratively with GPs and emergency departments, pharmacists can triage and manage patients with non-urgent conditions to ensure that they receive the right level of care, at the right cost, at the right time.
“PSA again urges the NSW Government to invest in the health of our communities by ensuring that pharmacists can practice to their full potential.”