*Join Tammy and back in a fair go for pharmacists here.
Senator Tammy Tyrrell, Jacqui Lambie Network Senator for Tasmania, is warning $3.5 billion will be ripped out of community pharmacies because of Labor’s 60-day prescription policy.
Senator Tyrrell is asking people to go to saveourpharmacies.com.au and email their Labor MP or Senator, asking them to back a fair go for pharmacists.
Under the Government’s policy, doctors will be able to prescribe a script for 60 days worth of some medications in one go, instead of 30-days worth. This is a cost of living policy which the Government says will see patients paying less for medicine and needing less trips to the doctor.
Pharmacists say the loss of income from the dispensing fee will hit their bottom line. For many of these small businesses, it means they will need to cut services, cut staff and reduce opening hours. It is very likely that small pharmacies will have to close because of the loss of income.
Quotes attributable to Senator Tammy Tyrrell, Jacqui Lambie Network Senator for Tasmania:
“The Government needs to head back to the table on its 60-day prescription policy and give pharmacists a fair go.
“Labor’s $3.5billion cuts to pharmacies will mean medicine shortages, more expensive testing, reduced hours, waiting time blowouts, fewer deliveries, jobs lost and even pharmacy closures.
“This isn’t fearmongering. I’ve seen the financials of these small businesses. Some of them won’t survive.
“The Government should increase the dispensing fee for pharmacists via the Community Pharmacy Agreement. It should be increased to an amount that will cover the revenue lost from this policy. The amount can be assessed when the agreement is renegotiated in a few years.
“We need a safety net. You can’t just rip out the bottom from community pharmacies and expect them to be okay. The consequences will have a domino effect on the entire healthcare system.”
Quotes from community pharmacists in Tasmania
*Video footage of the below quotes from Tasmanian pharmacists available on request
Luciana Torrents, TerryWhite Launceston:
“The loss of income is going to jeopardise my ability to stay open late at night.
“That 8 - 10pm, when no one else is open, is a very costly time to run a business.
“But I see there’s a real need for it, for our community.
“The income that we earn during the day from our dispensing buffers all this late night service.
“Without that income, our late-night service will be non-existent. And it breaks my heart that we won’t be able to offer what people need.”
Rhys Morris, Fitzpatricks Pharmacy:
“We’re going to have to cut back staff. Going forward, if there’s such a massive loss of remuneration from the Government, we’re going to have to look at opening hours and we’re going to have to look at our staffing levels.
“It was our staff that got us through COVID. That all seems to have been forgotten. I’m going to have to look my staff in the eye in the future and say ‘thanks very much for all your hard work and all your efforts, but I’m going to have to let you go’”.
Sam Oliver, TerryWhite Mowbray:
“I’m not sure the Government understands what pharmacists do.
“If they stepped in and saw our day-to-day running, whether that be going into the community and giving vaccinations to our homeless or giving services to people who have nowhere else to turn free of charge, I think the Government would realise that pharmacy is much more than punching a ticket on a script.”