‘Health workforce needs a plan’

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Challenges in recruiting pharmacists are a continual concern, says Guild leader

The Victorian opposition has highlighted the need for a state-wide health workforce strategy.

There are significant staffing shortages affecting health care across Victoria, say Shadow Minister for Health Mary Wooldridge and Shadow Minister for Country, Health Emma Kealy.

“This is exacerbated by geographic challenges, leaving rural Victorian communities disproportionately exposed,” they say.

Anthony Tassone, president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victorian branch) says staffing shortages have significantly affected pharmacy.

“Challenges in recruiting pharmacists is a continual concern raised by pharmacy proprietors, especially in rural areas.  The situation is becoming dire across the health sector and it can’t be stressed enough how critically important this is to tackle,” says Mr Tassone.

“A health workforce plan is essential in helping improve and resolve shortages in rural areas, but this must be supported by appropriate investment in infrastructure, broader job creation and incentives to help encourage professionals to relocate themselves and their family.”

Ms Wooldridge and Ms Kealy say they have a $1 million plan to boost the numbers of healthcare workers in the state and provide training opportunities and career pathways to ensure a skilled workforce, including in rural communities.

Mr Tassone agrees that something needs to change.

“Australia’s universal health system prides itself on equity of access. Right now, regional Victorians and Australians are not being afforded the same level of access to care than elsewhere.  This must be addressed and the Guild is strongly committed to working with all levels of government and other stakeholders to be part of the solution.”

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