Extreme workloads ‘a major problem’: PSA

Pharmacists need more time to be able to do their professional role of medication dispensing appropriately, says the member organisation

The PSA has responded to a statement from the Pharmacy Council of NSW highlighting that pharmacists are under pressure from extreme workloads, as reported this week by the AJP.

“Too often, we hear about the pressures pharmacists are under with extreme workloads, such as high script numbers (up to 400-500 per day) with only a single pharmacist on duty [and] professional services (e.g. vaccinations, MedsChecks) being delivered when the pharmacy is understaffed,” said the council.

“Extreme workloads are often a contributing factor to pharmacist errors occurring and complaints being made. While it is great to see pharmacists expanding their professional service offerings, a quality and safe service cannot be assured without appropriate staffing levels.”

PSA says that as the peak national body representing pharmacists, it has received anecdotal evidence about increasingly high workloads.

“We take the impact of high workloads on the professional practice of pharmacists very seriously,” the organisation told AJP.

“We know that high workloads place pressure on some pharmacists and this can contribute to sub-optimal outcomes, including error.

“This is an issue that affects the whole profession and is making it hard for pharmacists to provide the best possible care,” says the PSA.

“Extreme workloads across health professional groups, including pharmacists are one of the factors affecting medicine safety, which is a major problem with an estimated 230,000 medication-related hospital admissions in Australia each year.

“We also recognise that there is a maldistribution of pharmacists, especially in rural and remote Australia, which contributes to this high workload for pharmacists.”

Pharmacists need more time to be able to do their job, says the PSA.

Pharmacists need more time to be able to do their professional role of medication dispensing appropriately.

“We have continually said that pharmacist remuneration needs to transition to a consultation model of care, which would support dispensing and quality use of medicines, and would remove these workload pressures that we hear about in community pharmacy.

“In the coming weeks we will be surveying PSA members so we can understand workload pressures associated with the dispensing of medicines within community pharmacy, as well as desired workloads to ensure safe and effective dispensing of medicines.”

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