The sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) has been signed and is intended to take effect from 1 July 2015. A copy of the 6CPA has been made available on the Pharmacy Guild’s website.

 

As previously reported, professional services funding will increase to $1.26 billion over 5 years (double that of the 5CPA) with half ($613 million) to be provided as a continued investment in Community Pharmacy Programmes.

 

Noting that the funding amounts expressed to date are indicative only and subject to parliamentary approval, the PSA has expressed concern over the apparent reduction in medication management funding (HMRs, RMMRs, Clinical interventions and Medschecks). According to the PSA:

 

A total of almost $248 million was allocated to medication management (HMRs, RMMRs, Clinical interventions and Medschecks) in the 5CPA. However, this is reduced to $178 million in the 6CPA.

 

Importantly, the funding is ‘loaded up’ in year 1, with 63.4 million or 35% of the total budget allocated in year 1. Whilst this maintains investments for 15/16 at the same level as 14/15, to maintain funding of programs at the indicative Y1 funding level over the course of the Agreement, an additional $139 million would need to be found.

 

PSA is concerned that this funding blow-out may lead to imposing further caps on HMRs. As detailed in Better health outcomes through improved primary care: Optimising pharmacy’s contribution, this capping needs to be urgently reassessed.

 

With almost 30% of the overall program’s money being spent in year 1, cuts will need to be made in subsequent years. Alternatively, if the same spending across all the programs and services was continued throughout the other 4 years of the agreement, then approximately $256 million would need to be found to make up the shortfall. Presumably this would need to come out of the $600 million ‘contingency’ funding, meaning it would leave only $344 million for genuinely new programs.

 

Unfortunately, the future of HMR funding still remains unclear. The 6CPA indicates that $14.5 million is budgeted for HMRs in the first year but future funding for all Community Pharmacy Programmes will be subject to a cost-effectiveness assessment and contingent on the Guild and approved pharmacists achieving improved outcomes over the first financial year of the term and on an ongoing basis.

 

The 6CPA also states that “the current agreement between the Commonwealth and the Guild for the administration of existing Community Pharmacy Programmes will continue for the first Financial Year of the Term”.

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