10-year plan for PSA

shane jackson at PSA conference
Shane Jackson. Image: PSA

HMR caps are inappropriate, wages are “appallingly low” and Australia is no longer a leader in professional services, says the new PSA president

PSA’s newly elected national president, Dr Shane Jackson, outlined his vision for pharmacy and discussed the King Review and pharmacist pay in an opening plenary session at the peak body’s annual conference, PSA17.

Dr Jackson announced PSA’s intent to develop a 10-Year Action Plan for pharmacist services in Australia.

“We used to lead the world in pharmacist professional services but unfortunately we don’t anymore,” he told the conference.

“But I want to see this rectified – we must see this rectified.”

The 10-year plan will involve a “comprehensive” consultation process, taking into account the views of consumers, policy makers, Government, pharmacists and other health professional groups.

“Ideas that fall out of this consultation will form a platform for PSA’s work leading into the next Pharmacy Agreement.”

Dr Jackson also took aim at the cap on HMRs and “appallingly low wages” in the sector.

“I intend on having a mature debate about supporting pharmacist roles about the healthcare system, and that’s what this consultation healthcare plan will deliver.

“Otherwise if we don’t have that considered view, we end up having processes like arbitrary provider caps on HMRs – these are vital services available to us, and simply having caps on them at a provider level is simply not appropriate.

“We simply cannot have arbitrary provider caps on clinical services for medication reviews such as HMRs.

“These are important programs that must have sufficient investment.

“There are pockets of emerging and evidence-based opportunities available for pharmacists; in terms of new career pathways, new roles and remuneration, innovation and value-adding professional services being led by PSA .

“This plan is closely linked with another issue that I know is the main point of discontent for many pharmacists, particularly Early Career Pharmacists – that is the issue of appallingly low wages.

“There is no quick fix to this – but I believe it must flow from new roles and new remuneration.”

Australia also needs to ban the word “underutilised” when it talks about pharmacists, says Dr Jackson.

“The recently released Pharmacy Review Interim Report… clearly stated: ‘there is significant opportunity to better utilise the skills of pharmacists to support improved access to health services and improved health outcomes for the community’.”

“In my term, I intend to work hard to ensure pharmacists are used across the healthcare system for their skills as medicines experts,” Dr Jackson told the conference.

“Instead of the oft-quoted phrase “underutilised pharmacists”, I want to banish the ‘underutilised’ phrase from our phrasebook.”

He said the King Review offers an opportunity to “consider fundamental change to the way the pharmacy profession utilises its significant skills, training and expertise to improve the use of medicines in primary care”.

“We must grasp this opportunity to do things better,” he said.

He said that as the peak body for pharmacists in Australia, PSA should be a co-signatory to the next Pharmacy Agreement.

“We believe PSA being a co-signatory to the Pharmacy Agreement will bring better outcomes for pharmacists, the profession and ensure delivery of programs and services are focused on health outcomes.”

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  1. Kevin Hayward

    Totally agree

  2. Philip Smith

    So today I spent 10 mintues with a concerned Grandmother of a 4 year old, who had temperatures and symptoms of appendicitis, GP started her on antibiotics (shock horror) Friday and said go to hospital in no better in 24 hours. Went to hospital, child was screaming in pain, waited over 4 hours to be looked at, had scans, not appendicitis, diagnosed as mesenteric adenitis, go home take nurofen for pain and keep temps down. Temps continue as nurofen wears off, child in pain, hospital doctor said you can take nurofen all the time and this could last 6 weeks.
    HELP ME what do we do.

    Went through bowel motions (very private 4 year old), child not eatting, so said fluids must be kept up, suggested a fecal sample may be something a GP will look at, take panadol in between nurofen dosing (child hated panadol) try different brand/flavour. Suggest a different hospital in the area with shorter wait time if temperature remains uncontrolled.

    She said she felt happier than when she left both the GP and Hospital visit (probably because child wasnt screaming with her in pharmacy, waiting 4 hours to see me) due to their contradictions. I explained medicine may be a science, but there is a lot of guess work, I mean detective work involved.

    Now this time cost my boss and he made a profit on a generic panadol ($5-7), some will say she will come back and spend money with time, but they will also do so at a GP who gets to claim money from the MBS.
    Not sure how we fix this without access to MBS, for a 10minute consult fee.

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