DVA reassures the veteran community that the services delivered by the Veterans’ Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre (VAPAC) are not changing.
Currently, DVA operates a 24/7 pharmaceutical advisory centre, which provides advice and approval for pharmaceuticals under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).
Concerns have been raised by the veteran community in recent weeks, regarding changes to staffing and delivery model of the VAPAC.
Specific concerns are that the Centre would no longer be staffed by pharmacists, but by BUPA contracted administration officers, spread throughout call-centres across the country.
DVA has advised that it is not changing the services delivered from VAPAC. DVA’s response is below:
There will be no reductions in current service delivery arrangements for health providers utilising the VAPAC service to treat their veteran patients.
Some changes are planned to the VAPAC workforce arrangements from 1 April 2021. These changes stem from DVA reviewing service delivery arrangements for pharmaceutical programs leading up to the end of the current contract arrangements. The review highlighted the opportunity to change the composition of the workforce to ensure all calls are managed by VAPAC staff with the appropriate qualifications and experience.
As such, DVA is engaging individuals with pharmacy assistant qualifications to undertake VAPAC phone calls funded through DVA’s Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).
VAPAC will continue to operate as business as usual with the 24/7 (1800 552 580) phone line remaining in full operation out of the DVA Brisbane office. The pharmacy assistants will not be engaged via Bupa.
Pharmacy assistants will be supported by qualified and registered pharmacists, who will continue to provide advice for complex pharmaceutical matters. All matters that require the involvement of a pharmacist will continue to be handled by a pharmacist.
Importantly, there are no changes to funding access for pharmaceuticals through the RPBS. The RPBS continues to offer an extensive range of medications and wound care items to eligible veterans, their dependents and widows/widowers.
Veterans should continue to visit their treating doctor in accordance with their treatment plan and to access their pharmaceutical scripts.
DFWA will maintain an active interest in this change and its impact on the veteran community, through community feedback and DVA consultative forums.
DFWA is always interested to hear feedback about services delivered by the Australian Government to the veteran community, let us know here .