Future of pharmacy bright, Kardachi tells students

happy pharmacist smiling in dispensary

PSA national president Grant Kardachi says it’s time to dispel any pessimism about the future of pharmacy: there’s plenty of opportunities for incorporating services beyond the dispensing counter, he says.

Speaking at the NAPSA Congress on the Gold Coast, Kardachi told delegates that far from there being an oversupply of graduates scrambling for any available jobs, the recent Graduate Careers Australia survey shows that recent pharmacy graduates are the most likely to have full-time jobs, pointing to a profession that is growing, not declining.

“My vision, and that of PSA, places the contribution of the pharmacy profession into a much broader context, well beyond the counter, and we are committed to finding ways for you to explore such options,” Kardachi told the 350 delegates.

He highlighted the success of PSA’s Health Destination Project, set to enter its second phase, which he said is achieving sustainable delivery of consumer-focused health services and enhancing the pharmacy’s image as a healthcare destination.

“Fundamentally, the Health Destination Project is predicated in having a non-dispensing pharmacist or pharmacists interacting with consumers front-of-shop,” he said.

“Several participating pharmacists reported major personal professional changes as a result.

“Not only were the pharmacists satisfied, consumers also reported satisfaction with the image of participating pharmacies as healthcare destinations; and with the image of their pharmacist as a primary healthcare provider.”

He said PSA sees this as the model for the future for community pharmacy. Phase two of the trial is aimed at providing broad-based evidence of its efficacy.

The outright success of the Queensland vaccination trial saw more than 10,000 people vaccinated, including many at-risk people and those who would never have made the time to go to a GP, also highlights opportunities available to pharmacy, he said.

The Queensland Government immediately extended the pilot to cover measles and whooping cough vaccinations for adults.

“The success has prompted other jurisdictions to move towards pharmacist-delivered vaccinations and already WA and the Northern Territory have legislated to allow this while other States are looking at introducing pilots,” Kardachi said.

“These developments open up a new area of practise for pharmacists and given that the National Immunisation Strategy seeks to ensure that 95% of children and some 85% of adolescents are fully immunised, the potential is clear.”

“Another area of potential for the future is having pharmacists working in GP practices and the impetus to further develop this concept has gained momentum in recent months with PSA and the Australian Medical Association working collaboratively on a way forward.

“This model is not new and has been very effectively introduced by multi-award winning pharmacist Dr Chris Freemen in a GP practice in Brisbane.”

Patient-centred medical home care is also an opportunity, he said. One of the driving features of this model is the identification of a healthcare professional who leads and coordinates a team of health professionals attending to the healthcare needs of an individual.

“This is a developing area but one which holds great career prospect and potential,” says Kardachi.

“One of the driving features of this model is the identification of a healthcare professional who leads and coordinated a team of health professionals attending to the healthcare needs of an individual.”

More examples of areas outside the dispensing counter for pharmacists to work in include mental health, palliative care, diabetes educators and providing services in aged-care facilities.

“My vision, and that of PSA, places the contribution of the pharmacy profession into a much broader context, well beyond the counter.”

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  1. UnderpaidPharmacist

    Is it disingenuous of the PSA to quote employment figures in the first year after graduation (internship) when students are paid a pittance and therefore are more likely to find work? A more accurate reflection of pharmacy employment would be after finishing their internship.
    And does the PSA inform students that award wage for a pharmacist is less tthan $30/hour?Even those with years of experience are unlikely to earn more than this. Some store packers in Coles earn more than this, and they have penalty rates (which are in danger of disappearing for pharmacists).

    Incoming students need honest, practical advice regardless of what the PSA wishes for the future of pharmacy, before they commit tens of thousands of dollars on a course.

    • Cb

      Hear, hear glad to see someone raise this issue at last. Domestic helpers easily earn $25 per hour and gardeners can be $40 per hour. Ours is an undervalued profession for the level of training we have and the clinical oversight and interventions we are a part of not to mention all the free advice we give. If only our professional organizations would stand up for us …

  2. Joan

    What a joke !
    Oversupply of pharmacists ,they’re being churned out like sausages .
    Then they get out and get into a flooded market and not only struggle for employment but then only earn pathetic low wages .
    Great for chemist wharehouse they can employ them for the award wage,they would be better off working in a department store .
    The profession is sinking because the Guild have been so short sighted and only ever looked after the interests of owners.
    Who knows what they’ve struck up with chemist wharehouse ,but the discount pharmacies owned by a couple of guys ,not sure how they get around owning so many pharmacies,is destroying the profession .
    Now the media is after pharmacy !
    Oh and did I mention the guild is trying to abolish penalty rates .

  3. PharmacyIsDying(maybeDead)

    Universities are making money by overfilling courses. Pharmacy owners (like grant Kardachi) make money through offensively low wages. The government saves money on PBS because pharmacy owners get such cheap labour so the price per script stays lower. The guild-government agreement is biased. Pharmacy owners pay the guild to get all benefits paid to owners. The pharmacy award has not had a decent rise in years. There is a major conflict of interest for owners to have positions on the Guild or in the PSA. It is worse when they try to say pharmacy is good. Of course they want to continue flooding the pharmacist pool. Makes for cheaper wages. We either need to deregulate (we didnt want Coles and Woolworths to do what owners do now so since they are doing it then lets deregulate and we can buy our own pharmacy. At the moment we can not buy a pharmacy, can not open a non-private pharmacy, can not get a job, and can not get centrelink ). Even better lets pay pharmacists $2 for every script they dispense on top of the base wage. Then experienced pharmacists go to the busy pharmacies and new pharmacists will work in quieter ones instead of vice versa. It will also make older owners either sell or come back off their multi-million dollar yacht and work rahter than make millions off the backs of pharmacists who get oppressed in a bad system.

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