Jun 30, 2023 | Latest News

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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is supporting local pharmacists who have warned there will be job losses and service cuts under the Labor Government’s changes to dispensing of some prescription medicines.

Mr Chester has received letters of concern from several pharmacists and met with industry leaders in Canberra who believe the changes will impact rural and regional areas, including  Gippsland.

“The Federal Government has admitted that it hasn’t done any modelling on the economic or community impact of the change to a 60-day dispensing system but the Pharmacy Guild has been damning of the decision,” Mr Chester said.

“They are warning that small, family-owned pharmacies will be forced to cut staff or even close their doors because they will become financially unviable.

“Despite repeated questions in Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Health Minister have refused to release any modelling to support their decision.

“I’m very concerned that small towns in Gippsland which already experience poor access to health services will lose their pharmacists who are vital to the well-being of locals.”

Mr Chester said the Pharmacy Guild had commissioned an independent economic report which found that 60-day dispensing in its current form would have “catastrophic consequences for the delivery of frontline healthcare in communities across Australia.”

“The reports key finding were 665 pharmacies would close and almost 21,000 workers would lose their jobs with free services like blood pressure monitoring and home delivery of medicines abolished,” Mr Chester said.

“The government needs to start treating pharmacists with respect and listen to their legitimate concerns on behalf of their customers and patients.”

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