Three pharmacists from across the country were recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their significant contributions to the profession.
The recipients included NSW-based pharmacist Associate Professor Faye McMillan, South Australian Donald Burge and Brenley McMillan Milsom from Queensland.
PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said it was great to see pharmacists recognised for their service to the community.
‘I congratulate all of the Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients and thank them for their ongoing service to the pharmacy profession and their local communities,’ he said.
A/Prof McMillan was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care and tertiary education.
Mr Burge, who received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), has long been a fixture in SA’s inner south-western suburb of Edwardstown, where he both owned a community pharmacy for many years and contributed extensively to the local Lions Club.
Mr Milsom, who also received an OAM, has had a diverse career, including serving as a registered pharmacist for almost 30 years.
He was also a visiting lecturer at Griffith University School of Pharmacy and Secretary of the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee for the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Making a difference in rural and remote health
A/Prof McMillan, from the University of New South Wales’ School of Population Health, told Australian Pharmacist it was an honour to receive the title.
‘It’s a recognition of the work you do and it’s so lovely to be honoured,’ she said.
‘But I’d also like to say thank you to all of the unsung pharmacists who go about doing the work they do. It certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.’
A proud Wiradjuri yinaa (woman), A/Prof McMillan has extensive experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and rural and remote healthcare, including being a founding member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, which works to secure recognition of the significant contributions and roles of Indigenous health professionals in Australia.
She was also part of PSA’s National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Leadership Group and recently took on the newly minted role of Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner in the Federal Government.
Through this, A/Prof McMillan hopes to increase the standing of rural and remote healthcare practitioners to the level they deserve.
‘I’d like other health professionals to see the opportunities being regional, rural and remote health practitioners provides, and would like us to be considered equal,’ she said.
‘I also want to make a difference to how people perceive the disparity between regional, rural and remote and urban centres.
‘I think the quality of care is outstanding [in regional, rural and remote areas] and I want to improve the recognition of this.’
Importantly, A/Prof McMillan would like to see more diversity and inclusion across health service delivery – where pharmacy plays a significant role.
‘Pharmacy is part of the machinery that comes together to make sure services to regional, rural and remote areas are fluid and seamless, and [pharmacists] should feel part of a bigger system that works,’ A/Prof McMillan told AP.
This is especially so in particularly remote areas, where pharmacists might be the only consistent health professional the community can call on.
Of A/Prof McMillan’s award, A/Prof Freeman said: ‘As Australia’s first registered pharmacist who identifies as Aboriginal, Faye has been an exemplar for the pharmacy profession for many years.
‘I congratulate her on her AM and look forward to working with her in her role as the Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner to better utilise the network of pharmacists in rural and remote Australia.’
View the full 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.