The Hackett Community Association (HCA) has been encouraging the establishment of a pharmacy at the local shops because there are many older residents of Hackett who find it difficult to get to nearby pharmacies due to lack of personal transport, poor interconnecting bus services or lack of mobility. This had led to a pharmacist leasing one of the shops at the Hackett Shops and commencing to fit it out in anticipation of obtaining approval to operate the pharmacy. This is a major demonstration of faith in the Hackett Community as it is by no means certain that the pharmacy will be approved by the Federal Government due to the Pharmacy Location Rules.
These rules set out the minimum distances between pharmacies and the proposed Hackett pharmacy is 150 metres inside the minimum allowable distance because of the nearby Watson pharmacy. Fortunately, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing can override these rules where the application of the location rules results in a community being left without reasonable access to the supply of pharmaceutical benefits by an approved pharmacist, and approval of the pharmacy is in the public interest. The Minister is however only likely to be persuaded to exercise her discretion in favour of the pharmacy through the demonstration of overwhelming support by local residents. It is therefore up to the residents of Hackett to show their support to ensure that the application succeeds .
Over 1,500 signatures have already been collected on petitions that were left at Wilbur’s Café and the IGA Store and this will certainly help demonstrate support for the pharmacy but based on other applications this is unlikely to be a sufficient demonstration of support to ensure that the application will succeed.
Writing to politicians as well as collecting signatures has been shown to measurably increase the likelihood of success. The HCA has already written to Local and Federal Members and Health Ministers supporting the establishment of the pharmacy and encourages residents to write to the Federal Minister for Health and Aging to increase the impact of this campaign.
Please download the proposed letter by clicking here for a Word Version , here for a PDF version or copy the text below. Letters need to be posted by mid-March to ensure that they will be received in time to be incorporated into the approval process. Please contact Bruce Smith on 6249-1429 for further details.
Minister for Health and Ageing
The Hon. T. Plibersek MP
Suite MG 46
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Re: Supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits to the community of Hackett, ACT
I am a member of the local community of Hackett. I understand that an application to establish a pharmacy at the local shopping precinct has not been approved as the nearest pharmacy at the Watson shopping centre is 150 metres inside the allowable minimum distance under the Pharmacy Location Rules.
I would like to make you aware that Hackett is the fifth most densely populated Statistical Local Area (SLA) in North Canberra and yet is the only SLA in North Canberra that has a neighbourhood centre which does not provide local access to the supply of pharmaceutical benefits.
I would also like to make you aware that there are many older residents of Hackett who lack of mobility and travelling to the Watson shopping centre for their pharmaceutical requirements is not a practical solution. Tthere is no direct bus route from Hackett to the Watson shopping centre. Residents either have to travel to Watson via Dickson, or walk more than a kilometre from the nearest bus stop.
I therefore request that you exercise your discretionary powers under subsection 90A(2) of the National Health Act 1953 to approve the pharmacy premises at 5/1-5 Hackett Place, Hackett, ACT.