Auckland, September 24, 2020
The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand has accused health officials of ‘giving poor and un-costed advice to Ministers.’
It has also called on the government to keep up its promise of $18 million support package to community pharmacies.
The Auckland-based Guild’s ire is due to the inability of the pharmacies to access the financial support package announced by the government more than three months ago.
Warning of closures
Guild Chief Executive Andrew Gaudin warned that if pharmacies do not receive the promised funding, they will be compelled to cut staff, slash hours of business and curtail services.
“Some pharmacies will be forced to closed down. Unfortunately, we have already started to see this happen. Pharmacies are under pressure, out of pocket and disillusioned, and left wondering what
they have to do to get the support they desperately need,” he said.
Mr Gaudin said that in June this year, the government had allocated funds on ‘urgent basis’ to the pharmacy sector.
“But we understand that so far no money has gone to cash-strapped pharmacies because the process to access funding developed by District Health Boards is complicated. This is completely at odds with financial support measures the government has introduced for others in the health
sector, who all received their money automatically and quickly,” he said.
Essential Service Sector
Mr Gaudin said that the pharmacies are under financial pressure and are coping with the high cost of responding to Covid-19 and called on the government to allocate $18 million directly to pharmacies across the country.
“The government required pharmacies to stay open to provide an essential service to communities throughout the lockdown earlier this year and pharmacies were hit with extra costs as a result. These costs should be met given the important role performed. We believe that Ministers fully intended for and want the money made available to pharmacies really struggling with increased costs due to Covid-19,” he said.