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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 3376


Dr Everingham asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(a)   Does the submission of the Department of Health to National Health Service pharmacists rely on experience in Australia and the United Kingdom as evidence to support its method of costing National Health Service dispensing.

(2)   If so, is the United Kingdom's National Health Service regarded as the best external reference model available for this purpose.

(3)   Will the Minister make a reasoned reply to the Guild Chemists' case for (a) regression analysis in place of random activity sampling and (b) an interim updating as for medical fee benefits as a basis for assessing National Health Service dispensing fees.

(4)   If not, will the Minister explain his alternative methods for reconciling pharmacists with Government policy and creating job satisfaction and efficiency in the service.


Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1), (2), (3) and (4). It is incorrect to refer to the submission of the Department of Health to National Health Service pharmacists', since no such submission has been made.

Following the consideration of submissions made by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and discussions the Minister has had with Guild representatives, the Government recently increased by 7 cents the fees paid to chemists for dispensing pharmaceutical benefits to 39 cents for readyprepared items and 64 cents for extemporaneous preparations. The new fees are effective for benefit prescriptions dispensed on and after 1st January 1972.

During the Minister's recent talks with Guild representatives the conduct of a new inquiry into National Health dispensing costs was discussed. The Minister has suggested to the Guild that the new inquiry provide the information required under both -

(i)   the regression analysis method which had recently been proposed by the Guild; and

(ii)   the method favoured by the Government, sometimes referred to as the cost-accounting method, which includes random activity sampling and is basically similar to the method used in the United Kingdom.

In this way both approaches could be evaluated and compared.

Other arrangements agreed to in the discussions included the periodic updating of the rates of chemists' remuneration for National Health dispensing, with special arrangements to operate until comprehensive information is available from the new inquiry.







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