Private hospitals call for new 'pillar' in National Medicines Policy

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The Australian Private Hospitals Association has issued its submission to the National Medicines Policy review in which it calls for the addition of a 'workforce' focused pillar to the existing framework.

The framework currently includes four pillars. They are focused on timely access and affordability, quality and safety, appropriate use and a viable industry.

The peak body of Australia's private hospitals says it supports the existing pillars but that there should be greater emphasis on the security of supply.

"Funding models need to recognise the additional costs involved in managing medication shortages, sourcing alternative suppliers and paying a premium to suppliers in order to provide urgently required medications," it says.

On the workforce, the association says an updated National Medicines Policy should "include consideration of workforce planning to ensure that there is an adequate and appropriately skilled workforce in place to fulfil the goals of the policy."

It says, "Pharmacy has been included as an area of national skill shortage for some time. Workforce projections and provisioning for future workforce training need to take account of the impact of COVID-19 on workforce demands, skilled migration and the attraction of international students to Australia in both the immediate and longer term."

The association also argues for a broadening of the definition of medicines, to reflect evolving technologies, and enhanced sharing of data.