What’s in a name?

Professional services is a term that misleads the public and sells pharmacy short, a Guild leader believes 

Community pharmacy should strongly consider replacing the term ‘professional services’, a senior Pharmacy Guild of Australia leader says.

Anthony Tassone, president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Victorian branch, says he believes ‘professional services’ is a misleading title for a core component of what pharmacy does, and hampers the understanding of these services by the general public.

Speaking at the Medici Capital Pharmacy Ownership Ready Conference in Melbourne last weekend, Mr Tassone said “we should ban the term all together. This is a crusade of mine.”

“We shouldn’t have bad services. For a patient all services in pharmacy should be ‘professional’, so what is this term actually implying to people?”

Mr Tassone suggest pharmacy instead use the term ‘health services’ – which he believes says “something meaningful to the general public”.

Speaking to AJP, he elaborated his belief that “terminology is critical”.

“Like in any profession, pharmacists can be guilty of talking to each other, using language that no one else understands.”

“Professional services is an example of this. We should end the term, and we certainly shouldn’t have any unprofessional services… We should be delivering patient focused health services.”

Mr Tassone shared with conference delegates some key findings from a consumer survey conducted as part of the Guild’s Pharmacy 2025 Project.

“We’ve found that most consumers are broadly satisfied with community pharmacy, and that they will pay for services if they see a need for them. I think we in pharmacy underestimate this.”

Older patients, and those in lower socio-economic areas were more driven by pharmacy services, the survey found, while other patients focused on convenience, and to a lesser extent, on price. 

Click here to see Anthony Tassone speak to AJP at APP2019



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1 Comment

  1. Karalyn Huxhagen

    Totally agree. We have to really start to think like a patient. There are many examples of how banner groups and professional organisations have tried to do this eg Health Destination pharmacy. It is hard work in phcy- at a patient level you need to think, write and talk at a totally different format to how you speak and write to GPs etc.
    Communication needs to be a core component of undergrad teaching. Many of the issues that come to ombudsman and AHPRA for deliberation have an underlying root cause of poor communication and understanding between the affected parties.

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