Better remuneration and career support are key to the future of pharmacists’ roles.
The pharmacy profession provides a much broader range of health services than in the past, including supporting population health initiatives, and growing roles in health prevention, medicine safety and clinical governance. This role evolution will continue into the future and must be underpinned by system changes which unlock the potential of pharmacists to practice to their full scope.
The PSA’s two key reports, Medicine Safety: Take Care and Pharmacists in 2023, advocate for empowering pharmacists to do more than the current healthcare system allows by harnessing their skills and expertise as medicine experts.
At PSA’s flagship conference, PSA19, we launched Pharmacists in 2023: Roles and Remuneration which describes existing pharmacists’ roles, and their evolution over the next few years. This includes within new and emerging settings and, importantly, the remuneration that should underpin these roles.
Currently, remuneration for Australian pharmacists does not reflect their skills, training, expertise or level of responsibility in the healthcare system. As the complexity of pharmacy practice increases, pharmacists need to be properly remunerated and supported in career pathways.
These pathways must be embedded in routine, everyday practice to support skills development now and into the future. Development pathways like the Advanced Practice Framework must not create artificial barriers to achievement but should support practitioners to be rewarded with increasing remuneration and recognition.
It is PSA’s view that the most appropriate mechanism to support increased remuneration for pharmacists is to link remuneration with activity as well as the skills, expertise and training of the pharmacist. The Advanced Practice Framework is the most logical application of this. While this may take some time to implement, it is clear we need to forge a path that delivers better pay for pharmacists – we believe this is the way.
Formal recognition of advancing practice, from graduation through to transition, consolidation and advanced practice, is a key objective for PSA. But we don’t want to see the mechanism or process of recognising advanced practice as a barrier to development. By 2023, the pharmacy profession should have a recognition program across the board that allows all pharmacists to be included in practitioner development programs no matter the stage of their career. Remuneration attached to development will drive pharmacists to have the greatest impact they can.