Love and challenges in rural pharmacy

Rural pharmacists’ love of their work – and the frustrations associated with it – came to the fore at the Rural Pharmacy Forum at APP

The $1 copayment discount and the difficulty in getting locums were singled out as being particularly problematic for pharmacies in rural areas.

One NSW pharmacist said that customers in his pharmacy openly said they would go to the nearest big town half an hour away to buy medicines if he did not offer the discount.

“The $1 discount is not costing the government a thing, but it’s crucifying small town pharmacies near a large town centre.”

The Guild has consistently opposed the discount, and president George Tambassis told a panel session on Friday that if he could have the Government implement one measure after the King review, it would be the discount’s abolition.

Attracting staff, including interns and locums, was another key issue.

Using the emergency locums service is only a partial solution, delegates said, due to time limits. 

The forum also saw the announcement of the winning video in the Pharmacy Guild’s competition for rural and remote pharmacies across Australia: Swansea Pharmacy, Tasmania.

The competition allowed to tell the world about their experiences and why they are so passionate about working in rural and remote areas.

Wallumbilla Pharmacy, Queensland, was selected as the People’s Choice winner with resounding applause.

Rural and remote pharmacists were invited to submit a 45 second video about work and experiences in their unique pharmacies to complement the Rural Pharmacy Forum at APP2017 and its #iloveruralpharmacy theme.

Mr Tambassis said the quality and creativity of the videos submitted was amazing.

“This competition gave PHARIA 4-6 pharmacies and their staff the opportunity to share their passion and they certainly did this,” Mr Tambassis said.

“The videos ranged from being funny, to serious, to highly creative, to dramatic.

“But they all very clearly got the message across that these rural and remote pharmacists and their staff love what they are doing.

“They love the communities they serve and love being pivotal members of those communities.

“While we have today announced two prize winners, I think rural and remote pharmacy is the big winner by having such dedicated, committed and enthusiastic pharmacists and staff being ambassadors for this sector of the profession.

“We knew rural and remote pharmacies had some great stories to tell but the depth of passion that has come through in these videos has surprised many of us.”

The winners received a prize of full registration to APP2018 or a year’s subscription to GuildCare software for the pharmacy.

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