Local community and related health services are rallying at 1.00pm today (365 Hoddle Street,Collingwood) to save Australia’s only integrated community pharmacy/GP health service from closure.
The Federal Government cut funding to cohealth’s Melbourne inner city community pharmacy as part of the Federal Budget – despite it delivering government savings greater than its operating cost last year.
cohealth chief executive Lyn Morgain said she had been deeply concerned by emotional service users who are angry, sad and confused by the government’s decision.
“The community is as shocked and dismayed as we are, and they want to do something about it”, Ms Morgain said.
“This is a cost effective pharmacy service for the Government, it delivers demonstrably improved outcomes for people. What’s not to love?
Federal Member Adam Bandt is lending his support to the meeting which has been convened to explain the government’s decision to upset staff and service users, and mobilise efforts to save the ‘one-stop GP/pharmacy model’ which makes it easy for people to look after their own health.
Pharmacist Ruth Cerone says the closure could lead to higher hospital admissions of people with complex health issues.
“Many of the people we see are on multiple types of medication to treat chronic illnesses”, Ms Cerone said.
“Being under the one roof with a GP means we can discuss the prescribed medication, see if there are any problems, and where possible, provide a cheaper generic version. The model saves the government money, and delivers a better quality one-stop service to our community which makes things easier for them.”
Ms Lyn Morgain said the community was keen to be involved in saving what they see as ‘their’ pharmacy.
“They’re distraught. One elderly lady, Norma, was actually involved in getting the pharmacy established 20 years ago. This is a community that faces high levels of social and economic disadvantage, so they’ll fight to hang on to what they have got when they know it’s a good thing.
“Our hope is that Minister Ley is open to discussing the many benefits of the model, and the implications of its closure.
“In the strongest terms, we say listen to people that use the service, the GPs and pharmacists, who all say that being in the same building, sharing patient records, and sharing medical expertise gives people a safer, higher quality of care, and also, look at the figures.