Pharmacist turnover 32% in ACT public hospitals

Thirty pharmacists have resigned from Canberra Hospital since January 2017, the ACT Government has admitted

The Canberra Times has reported on government figures released after the ACT’s Shadow Health Minister, Liberal member for Ginninderra Vicki Dunne, enquired about pharmacist resignations in the Territory’s Legislative Assembly.

In late September the Times and the AJP reported on a number of problems faced by pharmacists in the ACT’s public hospital system, which consists of three hospitals: Canberra Hospital, Calvary Hospital and the new University of Canberra Hospital.

At the time, PPA ACT director Dale Beasley said the problem centred around Canberra Hospital, and related to under-staffing of pharmacists, and the resultant conflict with other health professionals.

Minister Dunne has been highly critical of the ACT public health system in recent weeks, while Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris announced an inquiry into the system’s workplace culture.

“Doctors, nurses and specialised health professionals are overworked and in short supply, and our hospital infrastructure is decaying,” Ms Dunne said in September.

According to the Canberra Times, Ms Fitzharris responded to Ms Dunne’s question on notice by releasing figures that showed the staff turnover in Canberra Hospital’s pharmacy department was 32% between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2018.

She said 27 appointments had been made since January 2017. Of these appointments, six pharmacists had already resigned.

“She said feedback from staff indicated concerns about income security, a perceived lack of career progression and sufficient supervision,” wrote reporter Daniella White.

Ms Fitzharris admitted that the situation was “not optimal”.

Ms Dunne said the Health Minister had failed to support staff and patients.

“Ms Fitzharris seriously needs to bring her attention back to the people she is supposed to serve, and quickly improve conditions for pharmacy staff,” she said.

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