Forum: Expanded role for pharmacists held back by ‘workload and pay concerns’?

Writing in the Australian newspaper last month, the Grattan Institute’s Dr Stephen Duckett put the view that using pharmacists’ skills to take the pressure off doctors is an “obvious step”.

Health sector roles are “essentially the same as they were 50 years ago” despite improvements in the education of nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists,” he wrote, adding that “Our health professionals now have much greater skills than they used to, but are not always allowed to practise their skills to the fullest.”

Picking up on Dr Duckett’s comments the AJP ran a poll to see how pharmacists feel about expanding their role into wider areas such as helping manage minor ailments or chronic conditions, repeat prescribing or providing vaccinations.

Just over half of all poll respondents said they are interested in expanding their role however about half of this group have reservations saying ‘I’m interested but have workload and pay concerns’.

Of those not interested in expanding their role almost all cite ‘workload and pay concerns’ as the reasons they aren’t interested.

All up, over 70% of poll respondents expressed ‘workload and pay concerns’.

Given that expanded roles for pharmacists are likely essential to ensure the profession has a sustainable future, how might these concerns be allayed?

What specifically are the concerns?

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