Photo Caption: Minister for Regional Health and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre) with Simon Blacker, co-owner of Orana Mall Pharmacy in Dubbo, and Lisa Gibson, managing partner.
Pharmacies in Dubbo will for the first time receive $3,000 per year from the Federal Government’s Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance (RPMA) program.
Federal Regional Health Minister and Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton said changes to the Coalition’s RPMA program will help maintain access to medicines and pharmacy services in Dubbo.
“Community pharmacies, like Orana Mall Pharmacy, play a vital role delivering medicines and essential health services for the third of Australians who live in regional, rural and remote areas,” Minister Coulton said.
“They continue to do a tremendous job supporting the health and wellbeing of regional patients and this is certainly evident during natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Government recognises the importance of maintaining the pharmacy network to provide a steady and reliable supply of medicines and other pharmacy services, in particular to people in the regions.”
Minister Coulton said the changes are a key outcome of the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA) signed with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia in June 2020.
Co-owner of Orana Mall Pharmacy in Dubbo and an elected official of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Simon Blacker, said the RPMA was a vital support in helping community pharmacies meet the needs of patients in regional, rural and remote areas.
“Under the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement signed last year, the substantial increase in funding under this important program has resulted in 400 more pharmacies across regional, rural and remote Australia now being eligible for support,” Mr Blacker said.
“This means they can provide more services to patients in these areas, which at times have been may have been left at a disadvantage compared with urban pharmacies.”
Mr Blacker said the new arrangement brought regional pharmacy classifications in line with the same rurality model used for GPs.
“Overall, this provides a fairer and more equitable outcome for pharmacies and patients in regional, rural and remote Australia, with the potential for further opportunities into the future which would improve health outcomes in these local communities,” Mr Blacker said.
Minister Coulton said the Coalition Government boosted its investment in the RPMA program from $16 million per year to $21 million per year under the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement. Across regional Australia the RPMA program will support more than 1,200 pharmacies, which includes 400 new eligible pharmacies to participate in the program.