A unified front?

PSA national president Joe Demarte with Australian Ambassador to Italy HE Greg French, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See HE Melissa Hitchman and Deputy Head of Mission Alison Edye, and Conference chair Warwick Plunkett at the opening session of the 42nd PSA Offshore Refresher Conference in Rome

PSA president calls for professional unity if pharmacy is to seize opportunity for growth, writes David Weston

“There has never been a greater need for unity in the profession”, PSA national president Joe Demarte told delegates when opening the 42nd PSA Offshore Refresher Conference in Rome on Tuesday, 2 May.

“Not because we are under threat,” he explained, “but we risk failing to take advantage of the opportunities.”

Demarte said that there was a “growing literacy” within government and among consumers around the growing healthcare role that pharmacists should be and in offering professional services, such as screening and risk assessment services.

Clinical interventions such as home medicines reviews and health checks are already funded, he told delegates, “but how do we get the profession to follow and jump on board?”

Demarte said the next three years would be pivotal to the profession, citing the “number one problem for PSA members for the past two years running” was low remuneration. “Wages are too low,” he said, citing a recent AJP survey in which 27% of pharmacists were thinking of leaving the profession. “The issue must be solved, inside or outside the Agreement, urgently”.

The other two major issues continuing to impact the profession were price disclosure and the need to discount, he added. We haven’t moved forward—[it’s been] stagnant for the past three years.

The growing healthcare role for pharmacists offered a way forward, he said. “We need to grow the size of the pie”, he said.

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