Career concerns

bored-looking young pharmacist writing on a clipboard

Ownership slips down the list of career options for profession concerned about pay

Remuneration and the impact of discount pharmacies are the key issues facing community pharmacists a poll of PSA members has found.

While Inadequate remuneration was the issue listed as ‘the most important challenge facing pharmacists today’ in the survey of 1587 PSA members, ownership was not highly rated as an option.

Almost half of the respondents (48%) listed pay as the top issue, while 41% listed increased competition with discounted pharmacies.

Other issues which rated highly were ‘oversupply of pharmacists’ (33%), ‘keeping up with new information’ (30%) and ‘satisfaction & working conditions’ (also 30%).

PSA national president Joe Demarte said one of the most significant results in the August 2015 survey was a small amount of pharmacists listing ownership.

When asked which career pathways respondents found most interesting, the role of professional services pharmacist came first at 35%, working in a GP surgery came second at 31% and hospital pharmacist came in at 16%.

“Significantly ownership came in a lowly tenth at only 12%,” Demarte said.

“The report makes it clear that the biggest challenge facing members is the issue of low wages for pharmacists, and when this finding is coupled with another key finding of the survey ‘that only 12% saw pharmacy ownership as a career path that they are interested in pursuing’ then clearly community pharmacy is facing a major problem in attracting the next generation of pharmacy owners,” he said.

The issue of remuneration also applied to the PSA’s program for pharmacists working in GP surgeries, he said.

“We are still working on a suitable financial model for this. Significantly, we already have rejected, on behalf of our members, some of the current proposals for this model, where we consider the remuneration suggested to be ridiculously low”.

The survey results were presented at the recent PSA Roadshow, where national PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson described the profession as having “implementation deficit disorder”

“The lack of focus and effort on sustained practice change is at the crux of pharmacy’s problem,” he said. “While investment in innovative practice is warranted, its actually seeing sustained and large scale practice change, across the community pharmacy network that is holding us back”.

“If we could replicate, scale up and implement change across the platform there would be less reliance on government funds, more professional services offered through pharmacies, greater consumer recognition of the professional role of pharmacists and ultimately a more viable community pharmacy platform. That’s what the Health Destination Pharmacy programs aim to achieve”.

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