‘I am putting my life at risk every single day.’


Pharmacists and pharmacy staff share reasons why they should have more recognition from the government during COVID-19, including through hazard pay

A petition before Parliament is calling for hazard allowance and tax-free income for “bombarded” pharmacists and pharmacy staff.

While it has also achieved over 3,400 signatures on Change.org, the organisers are requesting people to focus their attention on the House of Representatives petition, which has close to 500 signatures.

“Unfortunately the House of Representatives Petitions Committee only accepts online petitions created and submitted via their online petitioning system,” said organiser Pardeep Singh Rakkar.

“Petitions created via other online petitioning formats, such as Change.org, are not accepted by the Committee.”

Below AJP shares comments from pharmacists and pharmacy on why they are signing the petition.

“Pharmacist are in the frontline same as doctors and nurses. However their role is totally ignored from the government.”

“I am putting my life at risk every single day to fulfill my duty, but my government has forgotten us.”

“The risk and hazards pharmacists are facing during COVID-19 crisis is too high, we are still willing to provide our services to our community. All we are asking for is some support from the government to be able to continue delivering our commitments and cost of living.”

“I am a pharmacist who was working extra hard during the pandemic panic months, had customers abuse and break our glass doors just because we advised it will be a bit of a wait. We were not given proper masks or gloves or hand sanitisers either.”

“Putting our lives and health, of not only us, but our families, every single day, with nothing in return. This government needs to wake up!”

“I believe a hazard allowance is a must as we are frontiers and essential service during the covid-19 epidemic.”

“The pharmacist provides multiple services from immunisation, medication reviews, counselling, the first thing now in COVID-19 crises the pharmacist is in direct contact with the customers and we don’t have PPE! Taking a blood pressure measurement or providing immunisation won’t work with the social distancing rule.”

“Pharmacist and pharmacy assistant are frontline healthcare workers, who risk our health & safety (as well as our families) to serve our community yet we get NO support whatsoever from the government, not even any protective gear, ZILCH. All we get is high risk of catching COVID-19 & angry abusive customers. Thank you government, for turning a blind eye on us, it’s important keeping pharmacy open, but not important to keep pharmacists alive!”

“Pharmacists are at a very high risk of infection. I work in a rural single town pharmacy where there’s no doctor in town. The pharmacy is the only healthcare service the locals have within 25 km radius.”

“I’m signing this because I work in pharmacy and some of the things that have been happening at work are ridiculous.”

 

“We are frontline health professionals who are going over and beyond our capacity to provide an extraordinary face to face service to patients in these extremely stressful and risky conditions and we will appreciate any financial recognition and support.”

“I am a pharmacist who works in both community and hospital. We don’t have any PPE. Please consider us too.”

“Two staff have already left due to too much stress with not enough protection from public and handling of scripts. It’s easier to not work, stay at home safe and get government benefits. Safety of staff in pharmacy is not understood by government.”

“Pharmacists are often the first link in the chain. If they weren’t working the front line, the patients they see would be crowding our stretched hospitals.”

“I’m a pharmacist and I’m frontline healthcare worker, each day I struggle to get stock but still fight for care of each Australian.”

“Pharmacists are having to go above and beyond while being abused and having to take on extra work loads.”

“I work in pharmacy, we deserve some kind of hazard pay.”

“Either this or I’m quitting…”

“I am working as an intern in retail pharmacy and am exposed to high risk of infection.”

“Pharmacist working tirelessly with 0 appreciation.”

“I believe we are not recognised or rewarded with the efforts we put through as the front line. Many others I know have resigned working as a pharmacist and moved onto different careers because pharmacists don’t get the respect, the support or the rewarding efforts they placed for their hard work.”

“Pharmacists are already underpaid whilst working at the frontlines risking themselves and their loved ones. Not to mention the abuse they receive from angry patients. It’s about time to recognise pharmacists as frontline healthcare workers!!”

“Pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and technicians are in direct patient contact, day in, day out, exposed to coronavirus, abused, threatened and treated with utter disrespect and deserve more than this.”

“We are on the front line everyday and even though our employers make sure we are safe with CoVId-19 measures in place, it is still an unknown, scary time to be working in this atmosphere.”

“It’s true and a fair request! The pharmacy is the first port of call for anyone who is not feeling well. We come into contact with many unwell people and people who are panicking and angry – I often wonder is it worth the risk of getting sick and taking it home to my family for such little reward and so much abuse. Our lives are worth so much more than this!”

“We must not be forgotten. Every day the media be thanking the doctors, and the nurses. And hardly anything been mentioned about pharmacists and pharmacy assistants being there trying to tackle the situation. The workload for pharmacists have been increased too.”

Sign the petition before the House of Representatives here

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3 Comments

  1. amanda cronin
    23/05/2020

    I am just happy to have a job! While others are withdrawing super to make ends meet and begging banks to reduce mortgage repayments I still get to work, make a living and I don’t feel in any danger. With good hygiene and precautions like a screen and temperature/symptom checks at the door I feel safe at work.
    Sure it was a little stressful at first but we have adapted.

  2. Thanks for speaking up. We need more like you who raise their concerns.Working and not working is same as take home pay is same, I and my partner both are essential workers, have to work, kids study from home unattended, doubling up dole payments from our taxes is painful and steal from our hard work. Working hours should be reduced and compensated by reducing tax, the others sitting home should be asked to leave home and work instead. My neighbour couple who are on dole, get about same as we after working fulltime, they are sitting at home, pay less land rate, car registration fee, get concession price on everything, their kids get into better course with lower Atar as they had concession card. I don’t thank to have a job like this as the system is stuffed up. Current pharmacist wage is set to $29.41per hour, while pharmacy assistants receives $21.41 per hour, pharmacy assistants under 16 years of age earns $9.63 per hour. These wages among all classification does not reflect on our five years university degree and ongoing professional development training, the nature and job responsibility that we have.

    • TALL POPPY
      24/05/2020

      Pharmacy techs get $28.38/hr as a casual rate.This already should sound alarm bells to pharmacists that need tertiary education. Retail managers $30/hr+.
      Tradies can easily get over $120k per annum as a comparison….and some of that is in CASH….

      You guys really must stand up for yourselves. Especially considering the extra workload and responsibilities (Vaccinations, Medscheks, Sick Certs, S3 665mg paracetamol etc) forced on you these days without additional pay. Remember there is no significant promotion pathway in pharmacy. Good luck.

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