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Transcript of Speech to The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Annual Dinner, Canberra



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CATHERINE KING SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

SPEECH

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

THE PHARMACY GUILD OF AUSTRALIA, ANNUAL DINNER TUESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2013 GREAT HALL PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

Thank you David for that introduction.

Acknowledgements

 I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which

we gather - and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

I also acknowledge:

 The Speaker of the House of Representatives the Hon Bronwyn Bishop;

 The Minister for Health and Sport the Hon Peter Dutton;

 The Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amanda Rishworth and the

many members of the House and Senate who are here this evening;

 National President George Tambassis;

 Executive Director David Quilty; and

 Distinguished guests.

Thank you for the invitation to be here this evening.

I have enjoyed a very positive working relationship with the Guild - previously in my

role as Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing and I look forward to

continuing that as Shadow Minister for Health.

I have been engaged in health policy development in one form or another all of my

working life.

It is an area of policy I am deeply committed to. I have always seen it for its

possibilities of improving people’s circumstances and for utilising evidence to tackle

some of the most difficult population health challenges.

That can sometimes get lost in the politics of health whether the debate is about the

sustainability of the MBS and PBS, workforce shortages, clinical training places,

private health insurance, public hospital funding.

There is a reason we all chose to become health professionals.

I am acutely aware of the important role that community pharmacy plays in this.

The entire history of the profession itself and the development of community

pharmacy through to the modern day has been about the integrated role you play in

the health of local communities.

You have been early adopters of ICT not just in terms of how it can make the work

of dispensing more efficient but how as primary care providers you can use your ICT

capacity to work across your communities to improve health outcomes.

I know many of you are involved with Medicare Locals - a really important part of

the Health and Hospitals Reform that provides the opportunity for local primary care

providers to engage in whole of population initiatives and the government to target

these health interventions within local communities in a fundamentally different

way.

Despite some strain in the relationship more latterly I am proud of what we achieved

together through the current $15.4 billion Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement -

providing better pharmacy services for consumers and recognising the strong role

pharmacists play in primary health care.

The Agreement has paved the way for programs to enable and encourage

pharmacists to take a stronger role in providing front-line primary care to patients.

Reforming our health system and ensuring that it meets the challenges that lie

ahead doesn’t come easily and it does not happen by accident.

The 6th Agreement will provide opportunities to continue along the path of

strengthening our primary care system and the role that community pharmacy plays

within it. It of course will also pose challenges.

From Opposition I intend to keep a very active eye on the government as it begins

negotiations on the 6th Agreement. I look forward to working together with you to

ensure that the 6th Agreement takes shape, delivering on the future priorities of the

Guild as well as The providing better health outcomes for consumers.

Thank you.

Ends

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