Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 August 2008) . . Page.. 2838 ..
our society that people want—a relationship that will go out the door and we will end up with the Wal-Marts of the world operating in our backyard. It will also, of course, lead to the destruction of suburban shopping centres, where many of them are located. As many would accept, the key to shopping centres and the smaller communities in Canberra are pharmacies, newsagencies and the like and it is very important that those businesses be allowed to continue to exist.
The Pharmacy Guild also raised with me a matter relating to the registration of premises. They note that in South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and New South Wales legislation has been passed both to give effect to COAG reforms relating to the national registration and accreditation scheme for health professionals and to ensure that the states themselves have a scheme to register pharmacy premises.
There are several benefits to having a register of premises, not the least being the assistance it would provide to the enforcement of provisions contained in this bill. It would also be of use in the event of a pandemic that we keep being warned will happen soon, when a registered network of pharmacy locations and health professionals would be of clear benefit to our community. Although it does not appear that this is going to be amended at the present stage, as I said, I take this opportunity to flag my support for this sort of registration scheme now. And I want to put that clearly on the record.
I will support the bill and I hope that we see some efficiency gained from the consolidation and uniformity that result from the implementation of the Galbally review. I believe, as the Pharmacy Guild does, that the bill could have gone further to protect the community pharmacy model. I am a little disappointed that it has not, but I understand that further legislation may well be tabled in the Assembly, and I will support anything that protects community pharmacy arrangements.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.23): The Greens are quite happy with the intent behind this bill, which is to integrate a number of quite dated acts and regulations, including the Poisons Act 1933, the Poisons and Drugs Act 1978 and the Public Health (Prohibited Drugs) Act 1957. As far as I can see, there are no substantial changes to the intent of these acts and it makes sense to bring them together as well as ensuring consistency nationally because this can be done without any changes to practices within our territory.
The Galbally review confirmed that the principal objective of the legislation nationally is to promote and protect public health and safety by preventing accidental poisoning, deliberate poisoning, medicinal misadventures and diversion for abuse or manufacture of substances of abuse.
There are still a number of issues relating to pharmaceutical drugs which are not dealt with in this bill. I am concerned about what is generally known as doctor shopping, which is when someone may be seeing more than one doctor and getting prescriptions from, say, two or three doctors and then filling them at a number of pharmacies. I understand this is particularly a concern with people taking antidepressants and related drugs but it can also be a concern with people who do not have one particular, constant GP whom they see.