Giving youth a voice

ECP Panel at PSA17. Photo credit: PSA.

White paper highlights the concerns of early career pharmacists and aims to boost retention and remuneration

A landmark Early Career Pharmacist White Paper has been officially launched by the PSA, with a 10-point call to action as its centrepiece.

The white paper was developed following extensive national consultation among ECPs and pharmacy leaders, and was launched by PSA national president Dr Shane Jackson and PSA national board director Taren Gill, an early career pharmacist, at PSA 17.

The first of its kind in Australia, the White Paper makes recommendations for “ensuring a practical and sustainable long-term plan for ECPs to have satisfying and rewarding careers while contributing to Australia’s healthcare system”.

Ms Gill said the White Paper provided a unique opportunity to address the concerns of ECPs, interns and students, allowing them to be part of the vision for the future.

Over 60% of the pharmacist workforce are classified as ECPs, she said, adding that “these are the group to be most impacted by ongoing health system reforms”. 

“This White Paper has been written by ECPs for ECPs,” she said, speaking at the launch.

The immense number of responses from pharmacists (more than 300), and the detail many of their submissions included, impressed her, but also reinforced that “ECPs felt their voices were not being heard, and they took the chance to speak up”.

She said three standout issues emerged from the submissions:

  • Inadequate remuneration – this was the single-biggest issue, she said
  • Lack of career opportunities and support
  • Lack of professional satisfaction

The White Paper sets out 10 key recommendations for the pharmacy profession as a whole as a means to begin addressing these issues:

  1. Take decisive action to ensure a robust and sustainable community pharmacy sector.
  2. Negotiate to raise the Pharmacy Industry Award rates.
  3. Advocate for, and pursue alternative remuneration models for pharmacy services.
  4. Identify and propose new roles and models of practice for pharmacists – with supported pathways to enable progression in these areas.
  5. Work with researchers, policy makers and practitioners to ensure that evidence is translated to the delivery of evidence-based services by frontline pharmacists.
  6. Ensure productive collaboration between pharmacy organisations to shape the profession in a positive way.
  7. Engage with consumers and other health professionals through an awareness campaign which promotes the full extent of a pharmacist’s scope, skill and expertise.
  8. Recognise all practising pharmacists as clinical pharmacists, regardless of practice setting.
  9. Explore the development and recognition of specialties within pharmacy practice.
  10. Develop Quality Indicators for individual pharmacist practice.

The White Paper “represents PSA’s firm commitment to developing a comprehensive practical and sustainable long-term plan for early career pharmacists to have successful, satisfying and rewarding careers,” Ms Gill said.

Click here to vote in our poll to determine Australian pharmacy’s ’10 rising stars’ – early career pharmacists who are leading the way and inspiring others  


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  1. Red Pill

    My advice to ECPs:
    Your employers owe millions of dollars to banks at a time where return on investment is at its lowest and our industry is threatened both externally and within by those with far deeper pockets than you and your employer combined. The PBS profits are shrinking rapidly with every round of cuts (every 3-6 months) and the thriving discount model is having a field day, thanks to our protectionist overlords #TheGuild, Pharmacists are all facing a dire future indeed.
    Now you can stay and fight a good fight, but do know that it will be long and bloody. You will have to face the largest lobby group in Australia and risk bankrupting many of your colleagues. Along the way you may turn into the very monsters you began to fight. And if the fight is won, it may be too late indeed, as a new world is upon us and pharmacists are no longer defined by our 2017 definition.
    Or, you can accept the situation at hand, and move on. Make use of your degree but don’t become its martyr, mindlessly following it into the abyss hoping for a promised land that never was.

    • The Cynic

      Oh Red Pill…you make me swoon with your fine words.

      Totally agree but….

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