Comments roundup

What you said about the pharmacist shortage crisis, the pharmacy accused of poor treatment of methadone patients and more…

Here’s a roundup of comments from across the AJP website over the past week.

Pharmacy in crisis

Pharmacy recruitment specialist Sue Muller says the staffing situation in community pharmacy is the worst it has ever been

“This is only the beginning. When a pharmacist earns the same as a Coles shop assistant, they become less and less reliable and accommodating. Simple math really.” – RP

“Hopefully pay rates improve with these shortages. I don’t blame anyone for getting out of this industry and I would never recommend anyone’s child to study pharmacy.

“There’s something in the mentality of pharmacists that makes us shy away from demanding to be paid more. I don’t see it with friends in other industries. We’re so busy trying to ‘preserve relationships’ and not have conflict with our employers (cause most of the time we’re working along side them) that we’re scared to make any demands.” – MC

“Surely, Sue, you must be familiar with the absolute rubbish pharmacists have to put up with daily these days? The ridiculous layers of extra work that have been woven into the daily job of a community pharmacist – QCPP, Medschecks, CI’s, Methadone, Websters, Nursing Homes, Sick Certificates, BP Monitoring, Pharmacy ID, Medadvisor just to name a few!

“Then there is the constant ‘Can you price match?’. Times have changed – and not for the better. ” – TP

“Who wants to work somewhere that you can’t get a locum to have a holiday or an unplanned sick day? Outside of poor wages is poor work life balance in rural communities working 6 days a week. Plenty of health jobs pharmacist can apply for with better pay, work life balance and career progression.” – PS

“Pharmacist locum rates are so low as to be insulting – effectively permanent rates. There are plenty of unskilled roles that pay the same or more without responsibility and without travelling all over the place.” – MP

“Don’t hold your breath, pay rates will not improve. Your only hope is to get out while you still can and do something with your life that you enjoy….life is too short.” – MG


Pharmacy accused of poor treatment of methadone patients

A Guild leader says improvements are needed to the way Australia offers opioid replacement therapy, following an article attacking pharmacists for perpetuating stigma

“There are bad eggs in every basket……in my past life I served the maximum of 50 patients with a waiting list of many, including a few that moved out of area which I had relocated and then had them coming back ‘begging’ for me to be their methadone provider again. Strict but fair was my motto, and all my patients understood this as I made it my responsibility to do so and regularly (6 monthly) it was reinforced to all and more frequently to those who tried to stretch the agreement that they all signed off on.” – JT

“Let us hope that the injectable buprenorphine proves to be a satisfactory strategy for managing opioid dependence. It will bring into line how other patients with a chronic illness are treated. The unfair costs and the degrading need for regular attendance with all the associated issues (for both the patient and pharmacist) will be eliminated. It may also result in larger numbers of patients being managed, as it will solve many of the hassles from the GP side. Bring it on!” – VD

“Not one pharmacist/doctor was interviewed. End of story.” – PS

“My (long-ish) experience is that pharmacists are generally more respectful in their treatment of ORT clients than public dosing points and those who transfer from public to pharmacy tell us so all the time. The elephant in the room here is dosing payments – or as I prefer to call them client service fees. Payments are a huge impost on clients, a massive barrier to uptake of Pharmacy ORT and a source of conflict between clients and pharmacies. Realistically, the only way pharmacies can manage the payments challenge is to be insistent to the point of autocratic and that doesn’t sit well with our ORT role.” – PC

“I’ve seen the above situations happen in various pharmacies I’ve worked for and done locums in, re-using of bottles, banning clients from shopping, making them wait before ‘normal’ customers are served, enforcing the spilt dose policy (although, the prescriber was called and another dose authorised) etc. So this article isn’t far off the mark, and bringing it to light will hopefully force those pharmacists that treat their clients in this manner to rethink their humanity.

“I’ve even had assistants criticise me for treating clients like humans, ‘They’re only methadone patients.’

“I find it appalling that these clients have the added difficulty of having to step over these unnecessary hurdles to get their life back on track – the people who are supposed to be ‘helping’ them.” – PM

“Unfortunately, few Pharmacists are very judgmental and arrogant. Majorities of these Patients went through hard circumstances in their life. May be that Pharmacist will do worse if he/she was in the same situation. It is not excuse still, but will be great if they stop Judging and being humble.” – RM


CWH caught in ‘self-serving spin,’ says Tassone

A Channel Nine news report featuring claims that consumers want pharmacy to be deregulated has been criticised by pharmacists

“No mention also about how CWH subsidises cut-throat private script pricing by selling mountains of useless crap that does nothing except separate money from the wallets of their customers. Witness: Bioglan “Melatonin”, and God knows what else they’re willing to peddle. Also no mention that they are much like supermarkets in that they charge suppliers for premium eye-level shelf space and also charge them to be featured in their catalogues. CWH are not real pharmacies, they are supermarkets in disguise.” – PO

“CWH offer some customers what they’re looking for or if you a value proposition that appeals to them. Sure they get low price and wide range but they trade away several benefits that are often found in traditional conveniently located community pharmacies. CWH can promote their offer and they do so very very well and on the flip side it’s up to community pharmacy owners to promote what they offer their patients which at the very least is location convenience (saves people time) and in some cases absolutely fantastic pharmacist professional health service and services.” – BA

“Isn’t it weird?? Government and the press don’t like the ‘rip-off’ of the supermarket duopoly.. and they don’t like milk being (effectively) given away (help producers!…consumers want to pay more! its too cheap!).. but it seems that Mr Samuels (who used to hate Woolworths etc), now wants a pharmacy /monopoly/duopoly/ whatever-opoly.. to do exactly what has happened in the food sector to happen in the pharmaceutical sector.. let it happen and in a few years he will be crying foul!!” – TH

“This really made me quite angry. I have been in this industry for nearly 20 years and have seen the damage CWH have done over time. More people need to be taking Channel 9 to task over this so-called news article. It was just an advertisement for them, plain and simple. People also need to be bringing up Channel 7 and their ‘Wellness’ show which is once again just an advertisement. They have gotten away with too much for too long now.” – Ugh


Are people becoming ‘increasingly litigious’?

With numbers of complaints against pharmacists rising across the country, what do you need to know to avoid getting a notification?

“Doctors should also be held accountable for not responding to pharmacists enquiries. Pharmacists are required to check for medication error without knowing the indication, limited medication history and all. And when we try to deliver the patient care the best way possible, we get penalised for it. We are sought as a shopkeeper in public eyes not a health care provider.” – SZ

“There should be a $10 fee imposed on people lodging complaints, non-refundable, and regardless of outcome.” – VC

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