What drives a pharmacist to seek Guild elective office? Amanda Seeto says she wants to advocate on behalf of her peers and give all pharmacies a chance to survive and thrive
AJP spoke to Amanda, who is currently seeking election as one of two national councillors elected by the Queensland membership of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Amanda was recently re-elected to the Queensland Branch Committee, thanks to a strong vote of support from Brisbane Members. We asked her about her aims and motivations.
Q: Tell us a little about your background in pharmacy? How long have you been a pharmacist?
A: I graduated from University of Queensland in 1998, so have been a pharmacist for almost 20 years. I have always worked in community pharmacy, and have experienced working a variety of pharmacies, from small independents to the big franchises. I have also been an accredited pharmacist.
Q: Where do you currently own/work?
A: I currently own a share of two pharmacies in the Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse group, and work in one of them. I also work part time at the Guild Queensland branch as a Professional Practice pharmacist.
Q: What are hoping to achieve for your colleagues and profession through the national council role?
A: If elected I hope to make a valid contribution to a 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement that is fair for all community pharmacies, and sees us being properly remunerated for our core service, the dispensing and supply of medicines. I will be available to listen to Members and their concerns, and I am willing to advocate on their behalf.
Q: You mentioned to me that you want to be a voice for, and an advocate for members? In what areas do you think this will be most beneficial?
A: Members are continually hearing about professional services, and the need to change the way they traditionally practice pharmacy in order to survive. Opportunities presented to us in 6CPA allow us to deliver these services with funding that is outside the PBS envelope.
The reality is, however, pharmacies know the funding is there, but for one reason or another, many don’t seem to be able to achieve it. I think that the Pharmacy Guild has developed some fantastic resources to aid pharmacies, and I want to hear from pharmacies what successes they have had with services, and where they need further assistance.
Q: What are the key issues you see impacting pharmacy in the immediate future? How do you think you can help with these?
A: Changes to our ability to recommend and supply codeine as a form of short term pain relief is imminent. Educating our staff to pass this message on to our customers, and in turn educating the customers on alternatives available to them is a priority. Also, maintaining communication with our political leaders to find an option to supply without a prescription is also extremely important.
Q: You mentioned how inspiring you found the women in pharmacy session at Pharmacy Connect. Do you think it’s important for more female pharmacists to stand for leadership roles?
A: Absolutely. There are many of my female colleagues who are more than capable of carrying out leadership roles in pharmacy. I believe we do provide a balanced view to the boardroom discussions. If anyone reading this knows a female who would make a great leader, whether it’s in pharmacy or not, let her know, because she may not have even considered herself capable.
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: I am doing this to build on my future in community pharmacy. I want strong representation for our profession and our businesses, and I believe that I can achieve this for our Members.
Throughout the financial challenges that community pharmacy continues to face, there is also the incessant need to implement change. From changing the skillset of pharmacists and assistants we employ, to administering vaccines; from reviewing what stock we hold in front of shop, to charging for services traditionally offered for free.
I recognise that the struggle to implement change is real for many pharmacy owners. As National
Councillor, I will be a voice and make every effort to ensure that the road to change is as smooth as possible and that members are given the tools to implement that change.