Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2016 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Pharmacy Students’ Association,
the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia,
the Society of Hospital Pharmacists
of Australia, Professional Pharmacists
Australia, the Australian College of
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Defence
Limited and the Pharmacy Guild of
Australia. The Pharmacy Board of
Australia is an observer organisation to
A summit planning group consisting
of three nominees each from Project
Pharmacist and the APLF was
established with administrative support
provided by the Australian Pharmacy
Council [the authors].
Summit objectives and
The planning group resolved that the
summit should address specifically the
pharmacist workforce, excluding at this
stage consideration of the technical
and support workforce. It also agreed
that the primary focus of the summit
would be the enhanced utilisation
of the existing workforce rather than
consideration of the actual number of
pharmacists in practice which would
have the potential to become a debate
on the appropriateness of the number
of graduates entering the profession
(supply side of the workforce).
Invitations were extended to each of
the 10 APLF member organisations
and the Pharmacy Board of Australia
[PharmBA] to nominate up to two
delegates to the summit. Delegates
also included representatives of
Project Pharmacist and select health
workforce demographers. Comments
made by attendees within the summit
were treated as confidential to enable
free exchange of ideas and to avoid
discussion being restrained by existing
policies of pharmacy organisations.
To assist in the development of the
summit program and to provide data for
the summit, a four question survey was
compiled by the planning group and
circulated to the ten members of the
APLF plus the PharmBA [see Scheme 2].
Scheme 2: Survey questions
to pharmacy organisations
1. Do you think there is an oversupply of
pharmacists and if so, why? What data
do you have to justify your opinion?
2. What are the major workforce issues
facing pharmacists at present?
3. What further information or data
do we need to ensure better
understanding and / or resolve
pharmacist workforce issues currently
and for the future?
4. What are your suggestions or proposed
solutions to address workforce issues
and to make better utilisation of the
Note: The order of the questions has
been adjusted for reporting purposes.
A total of 30 individuals attended the
summit including 18 delegates from nine
of the major pharmacy organisations,
five nominees of Project Pharmacist and
representatives from the Australian Health
Practitioner Regulation Agency [AHPRA],
the Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare [AIHW], the Melbourne University
Institute of Applied Economics and Social
Research [MU] and the Workforce Section
of the Commonwealth Department
The program included presentations on
the survey results received from eight
members of the APLF, prior Australian
and international workforce studies,
a longitudinal study of the medical
workforce being undertaken by MU and
workforce data available from AHPRA,
AIHW and the DoH.
Is there an oversupply of
Six of the eight organisations
responding to the survey indicated that
they believed there was an oversupply
of pharmacists although four of the
responses were qualified, stating that
the oversupply was either localised or
minor. One organisation referred to an
undersupply in rural areas and three
indicated a mal-distribution [Table 1].
The data cited by the respondents as
being the basis for their responses
regarding the balance between supply
and demand was scant and inconclusive.
Responses appeared to be based on
data relating more to the supply side
rather than the demand side of the
workforce. The data included:
The recent growth in the number of
pharmacy schools and graduates.
The number of international
students and internationally trained
pharmacists requesting assessment
of their qualifications as a migration
Annual registration and the
associated AHPRA survey results.
The HWA Workforce series report on
Pharmacists in 2014.
Projections derived from the
workforce model produced as part
of the 4th Community Pharmacy
Agreement workforce study.
Pharmacy student perceptions of the
issues facing pharmacists.
Table 1. Supply of pharmacists.
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