Fix wages and conditions to retain and regain Australian pharmacists before focusing on migration, union says
Australian pharmacists need better wages and conditions, and these should be focused on rather than importing pharmacists, says Professional Pharmacists Australia.
The union was responding to a release issued this week by Alex Hawke, the Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, announcing pharmacists were being added to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).
“With thousands of community pharmacies across Australia being invited to join the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, it’s all hands to the pump as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues,” Mr Hawke said.
Responding to the announcement, PPA president Dr Geoff March said: “Professional Pharmacists Australia does not perceive there to be a need to place the pharmacy profession onto the skilled migration list at this time.
Dr March said the focus should instead by on improving conditions to retain currently practicing pharmacists and entice former pharmacists back to the profession.
“To attract new candidates and former pharmacists back into the community pharmacy sector its critical that employers and government instead focus on addressing the endemic workplace problems of the industry.
“These problems include poor wages, low morale, a lack of career structure and high workloads and stress, all of which have been intensified by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr March said.
“Addressing these fundamental workplace issues will attract the sufficient numbers of high quality professionals the pharmacy sector needs.”
Research released earlier this year revealed the levels of discontent within pharmacy and the numbers of pharmacists planning to leave the profession.