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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : December 2005
934 THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 DECEMBER 2005 guild from the president Pharmacy Guild of Australia president Kos Sclavos FOR those who may know little or nothing about me, my name is Kos Sclavos, the new national president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. I will be better known in Queensland, where I have served as branch president of the Guild for most of the past nine years, but I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the wider phar- macy community and to outline some of my visions for the future. I think a successful leader needs to be able to bring people together, develop ideas, formulate workable plans and, most importantly, implement them. I have a good track record in these areas, both as the national president of the Australian Institute of Pharmacy Management (from 1996 to 2002) and in my time as a repre- sentative for the Guild. Most notable have been through the Quality Care Pharmacy Program (QCPP), the Australian Phar- macy Professional Conference (APP), the White Knights consumer campaign and last year's supermarket poster campaign. In the lead up to my election, I identi- fied a number of priority issues for the Guild in the coming years. Chief among these is maintaining the current structure of a service-focussed community pharmacy sector and the related pharmacy ownership restrictions. Anything else we might achieve will amount to nought should we fail on this most crucial front. Deregulation will wind back the clock decades and return phar- macists to being mere suppliers of prod- ucts. In the end, consumers will be the biggest losers. While the Guild has secured a further five years blocking supermarket pharma- cies, the battle against Woolworths Ltd is far from over. After his retirement, Wool- worths Ltd's Roger Corbett will continue as a highly paid consultant for the super- market chain until 2011. It is no coinci- dence that this contract overlaps with the end of the Fourth Agreement. We must remain vigilant. My plan is to make pharmacy owner- ship certain. From a Federal and State/ Territory government perspective we need to demonstrate that only through a cooperative profession and with the Guild's leadership can we deliver savings in terms of reduced PBS costs, fraud and hoarding. We can achieve this by lever- aging the patient trust with us having their health data and by implementing systems to improve patient outcomes and add effi- ciency in health costs. We need to help educate the broader community that Woolworths Ltd would have access to personal health data if it owned pharmacies and that supermarkets have no interest in health outcomes. This is shown clearly by their addiction to the profits they earn from tobacco and alco- hol sales. To this end, the Guild will build and maintain alliances and community sup- port, put in place the required organisa- tional resources to see this out, and rally support from our own members and their staff to protect a pharmacy system second to none in the world in terms of quality of service and professionalism. If you have connections into these networks the Guild wants to know about it and support you. I plan to instigate the initial meetings to build key alliances immediately. It is important that we meet key groups and people now, rather than simply calling on them just when we have a crisis. They have to be shown that we are serious about building partnerships for our mutual benefit and the benefit of public health. I would also like to ramp up our efforts on the media front, always showing our profession is progressive and innovative. I aim to be more proactive too, expanding on strategies such as the tried and proven White Knights campaign and utilising the powerful medium that is Pharmacy TV. More than 1,350 pharmacies have signed up so far. An exciting initiative that will draw many of these elements together is the Guild's sponsorship of well-known media identity Dr John D'Arcy's Health Check radio spot program. The sponsorship, which began in September, provides us a tagline at the beginning and end of each segment---'Health Check is brought to you by your community pharmacist'. Some pharmacies may want to take advantage of these spots to run paid radio ads of their own, leveraging off this cam- paign. The more this happens, the easier it will be to involve more radio stations and the wider the coverage we will get. Further information is available on the Guild's website (www.guild.org.au), including a list of the radio stations host- ing the program. So it's important to become more proactive and promote the professional healthcare role of our members in the near future. These efforts will work to counteract the rubbish being thrown in our direction by various parties in a way that isn't reactive or defensive. In the end, as community pharmacists, we know that real consumers are very supportive and appreciative of our efforts and no amount of noise from so-called 'consumer groups', which have agendas all their own, will change that. I look forward to the future and work- ing with you all to achieve our mutual goals. On the front foot We need to help educate the broader community that Woolworths Ltd would have access to personal health data if it owned pharmacies and that supermarkets have no interest in health outcomes