The NSW branch announced that David Heffernan is Branch President for the term beginning October 19, 2017. Mr Heffernan is a part-owner of three pharmacies across NSW and has been an integral part of the NSW Branch Committee for many years, also serving as a national councillor.
Joining Mr Heffernan will be Vice Presidents Feras Karem, Caroline Diamantis and Paul Jones. Mr Jones will also join Catherine Bronger as National Councillor.
“I’d like to congratulate all participants in the NSW Branch Committee elections for an energetic campaign,” NSW Branch Director Caroline Argent said. “This is an exciting time for the Guild in NSW, and I am eager to see the committee take shape and work together to advocate for the needs of our members.
“On behalf of the Guild, its members and all stakeholders, I wish to thank Branch President Rick Samimi for his unmatched efforts to further strengthen the role of community pharmacy in NSW.”
Mr Samimi will continue to sit on the NSW Branch Committee for the coming term. The branch also says farewell to Senior Vice President Phil Dibben and committee member George Mendria and thanks them for their service over the years.
Meanwhile, the Victorian election results too were declared with Anthony Tassone re-elected as Branch President and National Councillor. Grace Chong and Kin Chong are Vice Presidents, while George Tambassis was elected as a National Councillor. Grace Chong and Paul Krassaris were elected as alternate National Councillors for the Victorian branch of the Guild.
In further news this week, the Guild says the NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro announced that his party would support moves to give patients access to codeine-containing medicines from their local pharmacist without a script to treat acute pain, with the safeguard of national real-time monitoring to prevent misuse.
From February 1, 2018, a prescription will be needed for these medicines.
As Mr Barilaro noted, the change will have a heavier impact in rural and regional parts of the state, where timely access to doctors is often limited. For example, Mr Barilaro made the announcement at a pharmacy in Harden, which is a designated district of workforce shortage for general practitioners.
PGA President George Tambassis said: “We applaud the NSW Nationals for supporting our common-sense proposal to allow safe and appropriate access to these medicines to occur without a prescription.
“We all know that simply making these medicines prescription only will not prevent their abuse through doctor shopping. The Guild has already proactively put real-time monitoring in place using its MedsASSIST program – yet no such national system exists for prescription medicines.
“We are certainly urging state and territory governments to put patients first and recognise the value of the system we are proposing – maintaining safe appropriate access, with safeguards and real-time recording.”