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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1603

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (11:12): I rise to continue my remarks in this debate. In my arguments for support of the National Health Amendment (Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement Initiatives) Bill 2011, what I had previously covered was accessibility to the continuation of medical treatment. The second tranche of the bill allows for the supply and claiming of pharmaceuticals based on the standardised medical chart in residential aged-care facilities. I support this initiative because it reduces the administrative burden on medical practitioners and improves patient safety. Often within certain locations across Western Australia, and certainly across Australia, GPs are not readily available for those who are in aged-care facilities. This bill enables continuity of medication. It also enables nursing staff to ensure continuity of treatment. I think access to pharmacies is an important development given the way in which points of access to health care have become necessary. Pharmacies are certainly a first point of reference for many people and there is a high degree of trust. If you look at some of the surveys about whom people in society trust, pharmacies and pharmacists certainly sit high in that consideration.

In Hasluck, the bill's proposed changes will enhance care arrangements for constituents within aged-care facilities. For example, there is Amaroo Village in Gosnells, where over 150 people will benefit directly from this initiative. This centre is located in the community of Gosnells. I know from my visits to this particular centre and from talking with David Fenwick, the CEO, that this would be a very welcome initiative. Equally, taking Morrison Lodge in Midland, again there is a number of people who will benefit from this change. They take comfort in knowing that the continuity of medications will be something they do not have to worry about. That reduces anxiety. In Parry Hostel in Lesmurdie there are 40 residents who will benefit. In the Jeremiah Donovan House in Forrestfield, where there are over 50 residents, all of them will take a high degree of comfort from knowing they have that continuity of care.

The coalition's proposed amendments will bring the bill into line with the minister's statements and the government's commitments, and they are consistent with the government's stated intent. The coalition is not opposed to the bill but does intend to ensure the Commonwealth assurances are honoured.

The amendments proposed firstly require the publication of annual statistics on pharmaceuticals supplied without a prescription as allowed under proposed section 89A(1). They secondly require a review of proposed section 89A two years from commencement and that it be tabled in the parliament within six months of the required review date. I think both of these amendments are commendable as they allow those of us who have a role within our electorates to advocate to have a sense of the level of dispensation processes occurring within the community. It also may highlight the particular needs around primary healthcare services provided at certain points. Certainly within my electorate I would be interested to look at the trends in the review based on the data. That will show trending that will be important in the way in which we consider whether there should be future amendments to the legislation. I think it is beholden on us within this House to ensure that access to primary health care and to the pharmaceutical benefits that are there for all Australians both are consistent and alleviate anxiety that occurs.

I have a constituent who is anxious that, when his prescription comes towards the end of its time, his carer is sometimes not available to take him to the pharmacy or, more importantly, to his local GP. The other issue he raised is that sometimes he forgets when the prescription is due and when he rings his GP he cannot get in because of the waiting list and so he forgoes his medication. This measure ensures that he will be able to go to his pharmacy with his carer and access medication based on the regime of treatment that has become standard for him and the new arrangements will enable the pharmacist to ensure continuity of dispensation and treatment occurs.

I acknowledge the government's reform in this area and I commend the bill to the House. I endorse the intent of the bill and the consequences that it will have for constituents within Hasluck and for all Australians who require continuity of medicines and medical treatment.