Remember pharmacists are healthcare professionals

28 February, 2017

Pharmacy owners should continue paying their employee pharmacists above award rates, the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said recently.

PSA commented on the Fair Work Commission's decision on penalty rates and other conditions in selected industries, including pharmacy, which cuts Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.

PSA National President Joe Demarte said: "PSA acknowledges the many community pharmacy owners around Australia who pay their pharmacists and staff well above award rates, even under the current difficult financial climate. We hope that this ruling by the Fair Work Commission will not impact this."

"It must be remembered that community pharmacies are not like other retail settings. Pharmacists are health professionals and their contribution needs to be recognised and remunerated in a different way to that of other retail workers," Demarte said.

PSA's annual member survey identified in both 2015 and 2016 that wages and remuneration are the key issues for pharmacists, with average rates of pay already below that of many other workers. This topic has been the headline for PSA's annual roadshow with the organisation's leaders currently working their way around Australia to consult with pharmacists on solutions to this workforce issue.

"This will hit pharmacists very hard. Those who work on weekends and public holidays routinely provide advice and care that keeps people from presenting unnecessarily to emergency departments, which generates significant savings to Government. This mostly goes unrecognised and PSA has strongly advocated for Government to recognise and appropriately support both the network that provides this access and the pharmacists who deliver the care," Demarte said.