August 2002 issue Pharmacy Today magazine
The idea of a national champion for pharmacy is again being floated.
The Pharmacy Guild raised the idea a year ago and has now drafted a constitution for a national pharmacy association to generate debate.
Guild chief executive Murray Burns says with the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Bill likely to be in force within two years, it is time to consider a single advocacy organisation for the profession.
The Bill will dissolve the Pharmaceutical Society and replace it with a registering authority charged with protecting the public good.
It will not lobby on behalf of the profession.
Murray Burns cites advice from the Ministry of Health and Sir Geoffrey Palmer urging pharmacy to "speak with one voice" or risk not being heard.
"I think the past 18 months, with ownership and the service agreement (pharmacy service contract) in particular, has shown we need a unified voice to some degree," he says.
"In the draft we've tried to identify the key groups whose views need to be heard and who will have a role to play in advocating pharmacy across the board. A key role would be to reconcile potential conflicting views."
He says the draft constitution will be aired for debate once the guild and society have discussed the matter.
The guild is looking at three organisational options:
A short-term solution could be to establish a committee comprising pharmacy interest groups to tackle common issues.
A more structured incorporated society made up of interest groups which would retain their individual identities.
A national association, representative of the profession and well structured and resourced.