‘You deserve to be paid a fair day’s pay for your expertise’

an pharmacist holding up a piggy bank employee pharmacist wages money earning funding salary salaries wage

Urgent change is needed across the profession, says Dr Shane Jackson, with remuneration the “biggest issue”

PSA has revised its 10-year plan, releasing a new Pharmacists in 2023 Discussion Paper that recognises the urgent change needed in the profession.

“Last year at PSA17 I announced that the PSA was embarking on a 10-year vision for the pharmacy profession,” said Dr Shane Jackson on the opening day of PSA18 conference in Sydney.

“After consultation with our members, consumers and the wider profession, it became patently clear that a 10-year timeframe was too long for the change that the profession desired.”

The new discussion paper looks at the opportunities and system enablers that will unlock the potential of pharmacists in the future, said Dr Jackson.

This includes getting more recognition of pharmacists – by patients, by doctors, by the public and by key decision makers.

Secondly, there is a need for improved remuneration across the profession.

“This is saying to pharmacists across our profession that ‘you are valued’,” said Dr Jackson.

“That you deserve to receive remuneration that is commensurate with your vital role in the healthcare system, that you deserve to be paid a fair day’s pay for your expertise and training and your level of responsibility in the healthcare system.

Dr Shane Jackson addressed delegates at PSA18.
Dr Shane Jackson addressed delegates at PSA18.

“PSA members tell me day in and day out that remuneration is their biggest concern. If it is our members biggest concern then it is our biggest issue.”

Dr Jackson stated that PSA has several projects in the pipeline that are focused on the next CPA, and that the group “wholeheartedly agrees” that having a variety of stakeholders, including the PSA, should be able to provide input into CPA negotiations.

However he added that “the Community Pharmacy Agreement is a vital enabler but it’s not the only enabler of change.”

Dr Jackson spoke about the various avenues for pharmacists that had been opening up and creating new opportunities.

Pharmacists embedded in general practice was an example of diversification of better funding models to include pharmacists, including community pharmacists, he said.

“These are some of the roles that will empower the pharmacy workforce to contribute in a much greater way,” said Dr Jackson.

He also highlighted the recent announcement that the Tasmanian government will allow pharmacists to administer the meningococcal vaccination.

“Once we’re able to get a state to expand vaccinations, it provides a model for other states to follow.”

In his video speech to conference delegates, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was thrilled to have developed the $600 million Pharmacy Trial Program through the 6CPA with PSA and the Pharmacy Guild.

“This is helping patients, it’s helping the role of the pharmacist in primary care, and it’s helping the pharmacists themselves,” Minister Hunt said.

“We’re looking at pharmacists as primary [health] carers.”

He thanked PSA for its ongoing cooperation as the government develops more trials such as the Health Care Homes extension.

“We are increasing the role of pharmacy as being a frontline in cooperation and collaboration with our GPs and allied healthcare professionals.”

The PSA is looking for pharmacists, consumers and key stakeholders to submit their view to the Pharmacists in 2023 Discussion Paper. PSA invites submissions by Friday 7 September 2018 via pharmacistsin2023@psa.org.au

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  1. Nicholas Logan

    Maybe Medicare should pay professional staff to dispense PBS directly.

  2. Bryan Soh

    The acknowledgement of poor wages by the PSA is great, but this conversation should have been started years ago

  3. Paige

    Any potential wage increase should be from Medicare directly to the professional providing the service/dispensing the script. The current system is no longer appropriate.

    Pharmacy owners have proved to us that they are collectively not able to be trusted with passing on profits/service fees to staff.

    • Rob

      Interesting point Paige. Maybe you could pilot your idea. Say buy a pharmacy for a few million dollars and pass on the profits as you say?

      • M M

        It is not passing on the profits . But passing on the pay for services that are being conducted by the Pharmacist!

      • Paige

        Rob.. the whining tongue in cheek pharmacist owner is such a tired tired trope. If you’re not making enough profit to pay your staff properly then sell your store. Or go and get a business degree. Medicare directing payments directly to providers is a big wake up call that pharmacy owners cant be trusted with providing a decent wage to their staff.

        • Rob

          Paige, the whining employee pharmacist is tiring as well. If your pay is poor find a new job. The lowest paid pharmacist here is $40 an hour and it’s metro. You assume too much. Direct the lash of your tongue at the employers paying low wages, not owners as a whole. If it all becomes too much, step up and buy a pharmacy.

          • Paige

            Eh, I get paid quite well. I guess neither of us is the real target of each others frustrations. Any extra funding whether it to employer or employee would be welcome it seems.

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