The end of uncertainty?


Ben Jackson (left) with team at the his Health Destination Pharmacy in Belconnen, ACT.

A sense of security is what drew this pharmacist and owner to award-winning program

Pharmacist Ben Jackson (pictured above, left) owns both the Amcal Plus and Guardian pharmacies located in the Westfield at Belconnen, ACT.

His Amcal Plus pharmacy has recently been transformed into the ACT’s first Health Destination Pharmacy.

The Health Destination program being implemented by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) provides a coach and tailored plan to help the pharmacist identify community health needs, increase staff efficiency and maximise profitability.

Jackson says he signed up because of the uncertainty surrounding the industry, with the program offering both support and security.

“The unknown of what the government is going to do to us worries me. I’ve been in the game for 35 years now. Right now there’s uncertainty about remuneration – the goalposts keep changing.

“But with Health Destination pharmacies, there’s someone else reinventing the wheel, there’s backup involved,” Jackson told AJP, adding that results from the trials conducted in 2013 can help to inform him if something isn’t working.

“Sooner or later all pharmacies will have to do this, I think. If we don’t reinvent ourselves we’ll fall behind. We have to turn every stone.”

The King review has only reinforced concerns, says Jackson who points out that the government keeps cutting remuneration for pharmacies.

“You simply can’t cut it anymore,” he says. “The discount pharmacy model has eroded the industry and I’m scared for the future of pharmacy.

“This is why I want to do the Health Destination Program – because we can’t rely on the government anymore,” he said.

Jackson’s Guardian pharmacy will also be transformed in coming months.

It is currently refitted and staff are being trained; once the refitting is complete they will roll out the Health Destination program there too.

PSA’s Health Destination head coach Rachel Dienaar said the program is strongly supported by local and international evidence, which shows it is the most effective way to achieve change within an organisation.

“Our sites are growing at three times the financial rate of the industry average,” she said.

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