The 2021 Intergenerational Report (IGR) presents a sobering long-term economic and fiscal outlook for Australia as we try to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, said National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Trent Twomey.
Adjunct Professor Twomey said economic growth will not be as strong over the next 40 years as in the past due to slowing population growth and aging.
“The aging of the population translates into reduced participation in the labor market, while productivity, which has been the traditional engine of prosperity, will have to pick up to compensate for the lack of population growth and participation” , said e.
“The federal budget will remain in deficit until 2060-2061 and federal health spending will continue to increase as a percentage of GDP, from 4.1% in 2018-19 to 6.2% in 2060-2061.
“Although spending projections for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) are stable, the unaffordability of drugs leading to drug nonadherence, especially for people with chronic conditions, requires further reform of co-payments from the government. PBS.
“Technological change and income growth will partly drive health care spending while – as the population ages – there will be an increased demand for health services. “
The IGR has recognized that all levels of government have a role to play in boosting productivity by ensuring diversity, choice and responsiveness in the delivery of government services.
“The way that all governments can address the challenges of IGR related to pressure on the health system, productivity and participation in general, is for every jurisdiction across Australia to unleash the skills of professionals. most trusted health care providers – community pharmacists.
“It is both immediately to administer COVID-19 vaccines but also in the medium and long term thanks to a regulatory reform to allow dispensing pharmacists to exercise fully.
“The productivity of the healthcare sector should be maximized by ensuring that all healthcare professionals work across their scope of practice.
“Community pharmacists are not only a highly skilled profession, but are the most easily accessible, located in all parts of Australia and often operating for extended hours, including evenings, weekends and holidays.
“Used across its scope of practice, community pharmacy can increase the productivity of the health sector and provide quality primary health care in a cost-effective manner.
“Scope of practice involves many functions for which pharmacists are trained, and pharmacists can be used more effectively to support people in self-management of their health problems, administration and review of medications, management and continuation of treatment for long-term health problems. as well as the ordering and interpretation of laboratory tests.
“Reforming policies and regulations at all levels of government to enable scope of practice will ensure savings materialize for the health system. “
Another important area that the IGR highlighted was the challenges associated with caring for the elderly.
Adjunct Professor Twomey said the IGR has recognized reforms and funding for elderly care announced under the recent federal government, but also that the number of older Australians in need of elderly care services will increase over time. over the next 40 years.
“Until now, the challenges of senior care have been neglected, so with careful government investment, community pharmacists can be part of the solution,” he said.
“This includes medication management and adherence programs for older Australians wherever they live, as well as during care transitions.
“Overall, the IGR clearly shows the long-term challenges associated with an aging population in the context of the immediate challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Part of the solution and the response to these challenges is to engage and use the community pharmacy network to its full potential, for the betterment of the people of Australia. “