In a dual interview with reporter, Deb Knight from the Today on Saturday program on Sunday, September 11, 2016, both Pharmacy Guild of Australia President, George Tambassis and Australian Medial Association (AMA) President, Dr Michael Gannon explained the agreement they have reached regarding the role that pharmacists can play in relieving patient-related pressure on Aussie GPs.

Mr Tambassis highlighted the benefits pharmacy can play in treating patients with minor ailments, allowing GPs to focus on more severe, or chronic disease states.

“We certainly are very well qualified to look after minor ailments as well, such as colds and headaches.

“We believe we can perform a great service to the community, and lessen the burden to our local doctors for them to concentrate on more chronic diseases, and collaborate with our doctors,” Mr Tambassis said.

Mr Tambassis’ comments echo findings from the Overview of Current Pharmacy Impact on Immunisation study, released on August 29, 2016 by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (IPF), which suggested that globally, 10 million lives could be saved by increasing access to medicines and vaccination, placing community pharmacy in a strong position to make a major contribution to public health.

“Plenty of patients come and see pharmacies or community pharmacies all around Australia because we’re very well distributed all around Australia,” said Mr Tambassis.

“Community pharmacists don’t require appointments. We’re the most accessible healthcare professionals, so people are already coming to us.”

Dr Gannon responded, citing he was in strong agreement with Mr Tambassis.

“[I am] delighted to be in furious agreement with everything that George has said.”

However, Dr Gannon explained his support for the current Australian healthcare system, which serves the country well, with doctors acting as medicine prescribers and pharmacists as dispensers of therapies.

“I think that [in Australia] the current system serves us well where the situations are at arm’s length: doctors prescribe, pharmacists dispense – that avoids this ethical conundrum,” Dr Gannon said.

Read the full transcript of the interview at the Guild website