Advisory group making a comeback


Advisory group making a comeback

Jojoa Burling
2 minutes to Read
Alex de Roo
Canterbury pharmacist Alex de Roo hopes the reformation of the Expert Advisory Group will help pharmacies move forward with services

A pharmacy advisory group that was dumped because of COVID-19 is being revived and sector representatives have until Tuesday to nominate the people who will decide on its terms of reference.

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand has promised to reestablish the Pharmacy Services Expert Advisory Group (EAG) by March next year.

EAG was set up to give advice on pharmacy and pharmacist services. It last met in April 2020, but was put on hold when the health system had to prioritise the COVID-19 response.

According to the Integrated Community Pharmacy Services Agreement, the EAG can provide expert advice on community pharmacy services and consider matters referred to it as part of the National Annual Agreement Review (NAAR).

Te Whatu Ora primary, community and rural national commissioning interim director Emma Prestidge says the agency is seeking nominations for up to six NAAR provider representatives to review the EAG terms of reference.

People can nominate others or themselves and nominations close on Tuesday (31 October) at 5pm.

“Pharmacies should be paid more” 

The Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group will be putting people forward to be part of the review. Deputy chair Alex de Roo says if more than six people want to take part altogether, there will be a vote.

Mr de Roo, who is a NAAR representative and the co-owner of Unichem Parkside Pharmacy in Christchurch and Life Pharmacy in Rangiora, says it will be an opportunity to discuss the service specifications in the contract, including reporting, and what’s required and provided.

It’s been a while since pharmacists were involved in the EAG, says Mr de Roo. They asked for it as part of the NAAR negotiations so they could have more discussion around services in the contract to make sure they are still fit for purpose.

He hopes the EAG will help pharmacies move forward with services.

Mr de Roo says because of time constraints, it’s likely three parts of the current contract services will be looked at: clozapine, the Community Pharmacy Anticoagulation Management Service and methadone. Vaccinations are part of a different funding pool because other organisations also provide that service.

Everything in the contract will be discussed, including payment. Mr de Roo says the recent funding increase was not sufficient and pharmacies don’t receive enough money for the services they provide: “It goes without saying pharmacies should be paid more.”

More reps keen to have their say 

Green Cross Health Health services commercial manager Gemma Buchanan has been nominated to review the terms of reference.

“The purpose of the subgroup is to ensure that the terms of reference can allow those participating in the EAG service reviews to be able to carry out meaningful work on behalf of the sector that achieves results,” says Mrs Buchanan.

The Pharmacy Guild is also keen to participate and will be responding to Te Whatu Ora’s request for nominations.

“The guild looks forward to ensuring that an appropriately resourced EAG is focused on service reviews that are of highest priority and significance to community pharmacy,” says chief executive Andrew Gaudin.