Look long-term at workforce: Australian Pharmacist Workforce Summit

pharmacists standing by upward graph made of pills

The first Australian Pharmacist Workforce Summit has underscored the need for a longer-term blueprint on the role of pharmacists in the future.

The summit, held in Melbourne last week, issued a communique stating that: “The capability and capacity of the workforce underpins the professions’ future.

“A competent and sustainable pharmacist workforce is necessary to address the increasing pharmaceutical requirements of the population and to enable continued expansion of pharmacists’ scope of practice.

“The significant shortage of pharmacists which existed in the period 1995 – 2005 has largely been resolved by an increase in the number of graduates entering the profession over the last decade.

“Is the number and distribution appropriate and what needs to be put in place for pharmacists’ skills to be better utilised?”

National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte, says a long-term blueprint on the evidence-based current and future roles of pharmacists would address issued raised at the workforce summit and help to ensure the more accurate identification, and where needed creation, of demand for pharmacy services in the future.

Demarte says the PSA is investing in the development of a 10-year Action Blueprint on Pharmacist Practice – a plan detailing the potential roles for pharmacists and how they “collectively we can achieve them”.

“Having a longer term plan is critical if we are to adequately secure employment for pharmacy students today,” Demarte says.

He said an initial meeting with all major pharmacy organisations on the 10-year Action Blueprint on Pharmacist Practice was held in March, where there was strong support on the need for such a blueprint.

Demarte says that work will commence shortly on this blueprint.

“Without such a plan we are simply planning to fail and that is just not an option. “We need this plan for the profession and for the health-consuming public,” he says.

Mr Demarte said a pivotal aspect of future workforce planning was profession-wide collaboration with Government agencies on workforce planning.

“Other health professionals have effectively developed future workforce planning strategies through such collaboration and PSA’s 10-year plan will feature a similar approach to ensure our students of today have a future tomorrow,” Mr Demarte said.

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