Pharmacist Workloads

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At PDL we get the occasional call from pharmacists concerned that their heavy workload could lead to a dispensing error.

When questioned on workload recommendations, we refer the caller to review the Pharmacy Board of Australia Guidelines for Dispensing of Medicines.

Under section 11 of this document, it is stated that a single pharmacist should only dispense 150-200 items per day. The guideline goes on to describe how additional pharmacists and/or technicians should be employed as the dispensing levels increase.

The stated volumes of dispensing should be considered as a guide only as for some pharmacies undertaking more complex dispensing, these levels could be too high.

When you add extra duties such as checking DAA’s and performing instore pharmacy programmes (6CPA initiatives), this too will add extra demands on a pharmacist impacting on safe dispensing levels.

A recent call to PDL demonstrates a pharmacist’s concern on unreasonable workloads. This pharmacist works in a dispensary, which usually employs at least two pharmacists because they are doing 200-300 scripts daily, as well as checking a large number of DAA’s.

The pharmacy manager informed our member that he was taking some leave and she would have to work unassisted for several days. As this proposed situation was unreasonable and unsafe, our member was advised to insist a locum be employed, or alternatively to refuse this work shift.

To discuss workload issues or any other pharmacy practice matter call PDL on 1300 854 838 or use your member login here for more information.

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  1. Big pharma

    The key word is guideline which suggests this is optional and not reinforced. Unlike hospital nursing staff who refuse patients unless the patient quota is met….pharmacists are in a situation where there is no regulation only suggestion. Private hospital clinical pharmacists are seeing upwards of 5 times the SHPA safe recommendation.

    The above solution “refuse the shift” is easier said than done. So let the next person take the hit. This does not solve the problem of overworked pharmacists which endangers patient safety.

    • The Cynic

      I quite agree Big Pharma. My experience with private hospital pharmacy was very bruising indeed. The workload was relentless, the expectations unreasonable. They over promised to win the contract. They under resourced to hold on to profits.

  2. Kaveh Sarraf

    I wonder what she ended up doing. If you are reading this please let us know

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