Welcome healthcare focus in Labor Budget response

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) today welcomed the Australian Labor Party (ALP) response to Tuesday’s 2019 Federal Budget, which included a centrepiece investment in cancer care and commitments toward palliative care and hospital infrastructure.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says members and their healthcare colleagues will welcome Labor’s proposed $2.3bn Medicare Cancer Plan.

‘Embedded in multidisciplinary healthcare teams, hospital pharmacists care for the most acutely unwell Australians, which includes hundreds of thousands of people newly diagnosed or living with cancer, and the proposed coverage of essential services such as medical scans and specialist consultations under Medicare will be warmly received.

‘SHPA has welcomed the current Federal Government’s funding commitments to new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and, similarly, we welcome the Opposition’s proposed commitment to subsidise every cancer medicine recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Board, via the PBS.

‘As custodians of more than 20 per cent of PBS expenditure, hospital pharmacists play a crucial role managing the safety and quality use of cutting-edge medicines and the sustainability of the PBS, an invaluable mechanism improving equity of medicines access for all Australians.’

The Budget response, delivered yesterday by Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten MP, also reaffirmed commitment to the proposed Australian Health Reform Commission aimed at realising important structural reform beyond three-year political cycles.

Ms Michaels says SHPA welcomes the focus on healthcare in the Budget response.

‘We look forward to a productive working relationship with the elected government and colleagues in the Department of Health and the Therapeutics Goods Administration and enabling the expansion of crucial hospital pharmacy services.

‘It is imperative current evidence is acknowledged and hospital pharmacist-led interventions in key areas are strengthened – such as patient discharge, opioid stewardship and medicines management in aged care – to reduce the 250,000 medicine-related hospital admissions each year in Australia, which cost $1.4 billion to the health system.’


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