Joint media release:Guild and NACCHO working together to improve Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander’s access to PBS medicines.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have developed a joint position paper aimed at maintaining and improving access to important medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Donna (NACCHO) and Wendy (Guild) signing agreement

As partners in the introduction and ongoing support and delivery of the Section 100 Remote Aboriginal Health Services Program (s100 RAHSP), the Guild and NACCHO have prepared the paper to outline the essential features that need to be maintained, as well as practical ways to assist the program to reach its full potential, consistent with the Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.

 The paper has been produced in response to the report from the Inquiry by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into ‘the effectiveness of special arrangements for the supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines to remote Aboriginal Health Services’ delivered in October 2011.

 Both organisations hope that the Government’s response to the Inquiry will provide the opportunity to review the Section 100 Remote Aboriginal Health Services Program (s100 RAHSP) in light not only of the Senate report, but also of the numerous reviews and evaluations which have preceded it.

 The paper proposes the retention of the essential features of the program, with some practical suggestions to enhance the program.  Among eleven suggestions for improving the system is a proposal that Medicare Australia move to a streamlined electronic claiming system to replace the current paper-based claims book.

 The Section 100 Remote Aboriginal Health Services Program (s100 RAHSP), introduced in 1999, has greatly improved access to medicines listed on the PBS and represents one of the most substantial positive developments in remote area Aboriginal health service delivery.  This has been achieved through the infrastructure of the network of remote area community pharmacies and their expertise in administering the PBS, and Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services in their delivery of care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 The Guild and NACCHO will continue to build on their long standing relationship, working together to improve Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander’s access to PBS medicines.

Section 100 of the National Health Act 1953 allows the Federal Health Minister to make special arrangements for the supply of PBS medicines where they cannot be supplied effectively through normal channels.

 The joint position paper may be viewed at:  www.guild.org.au under the ‘Issues & Resources’ tab 

Download from NACCHO resource documents

Media inquiries: Greg Turnbull 0412 910 261 or Colin Cowell 0401 331 251