The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) has significant concerns over community pharmacy’s ability to simply and quickly access the government’s $18 million financial support package.
The Guild is calling for urgent government action to support under-pressure pharmacies around New Zealand struggling to cope with the high cost of responding to Covid-19, by directly allocating the already announced $18 million financial support package across all community pharmacies.
“Ministers in June set aside urgent funding for the sector but we understand so far no money has gone to cash-strapped pharmacies because the process to access funding developed by District Health Boards is far too 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,” Guild Chief Executive Andrew Gaudin says.
“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 Ministers fully intended for and want the money made available to pharmacies really struggling with increased costs due to Covid-19.
“We have grave concerns that while health officials keep giving Ministers poor and uncosted advice, pharmacies will have to cut staff, cut hours and cut services offered to their communities, with some pharmacies ultimately forced to close. 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”.