The Guild’s national president has confirmed that the organisation is in talks with the employee pharmacists’ union on the Award
Professional Pharmacists Australia issued a statement on Monday in which it said that its campaign to modernise the pharmacy award—by lifting wages and conditions and upgrading the classification structure— has gained further momentum with support from Pharmacy Guild President Trent Twomey.
PPA representatives have had meetings with Mr Twomey, who agreed the current Award and classifications structure is “no longer fit for purpose and change is required,” PPA said.
PPA President Geoff March said he was increasingly confident that change is on the horizon.
“The pharmacy industry is at crisis point with morale at all-time lows and our latest survey showing record numbers intending to leave the profession,” said Dr March.
“We need urgent change in this sector if we’re going to retain and attract quality people.
“After 20 years of the Guild resisting this change, we look forward to working with a new President, with a different attitude.”
The Pharmacy Guild has previously actively opposed wage increases and the adoption of a ‘patient care’ approach to practice, claims PPA.
“It is in everyone’s interest that employee pharmacists are fairly remunerated and given the opportunities, respect and recognition they deserve, because we need to do something about workforce attrition,” Dr March said.
“It is simply not sustainable that pharmacists remain the lowest paid health professionals and lowest paid graduates in the country.
“Another key issue affecting attraction and retention is the limited scope of practice for pharmacists that has been embedded in the industry.
“The Guild has previously negotiated Community Pharmacy Agreements that have locked the industry into a funding model that overwhelmingly rewards dispensing.”
Dr March said it is “critical that wages and conditions are lifted, or the brain drain will continue.”
“It is also urgent that we recognise the skills and capacity of pharmacists and expand the horizons of what they can do to support community health, instead of artificially limiting their work to suit business funding models.
“We are encouraged by the Guild’s shift in position and look forward to seeing that reflected in industrial relations changes.
“In particular, we seek the Guild’s public support to lift pharmacists’ wages and conditions, improve career structures and implement an inclusive approach to negotiations on matters that affect all pharmacists, technicians and retail staff.”
Trent Twomey told the AJP that, “The Guild is in talks with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the award is fit for purpose to grow and sustain the community pharmacy model, which is pivotal to meeting the health needs of communities across the country”.