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.”