Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2016 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
The number of pharmacist graduates
compared with the number of
registered pharmacists appears
high compared with other health
professions. This may indicate an
excessive rate of replenishment
however if there is an oversupply,
it may not be possible to simply
stop supply suddenly as it may lead
eventually to an undersupply.
There is a need for pharmacist
workforce studies to address
both supply and demand sides
for a range of scenarios including
projected changes to roles which
will lead to changes in the required
number of pharmacists. It would be
beneficial to develop scenarios of
what the profession will look like in
10 years’ time including a case for a
A longitudinal study of the
pharmacist workforce would provide
an opportunity for engagement
and capacity building. It would
require a well-defined purpose and
methodology which incorporates
current as well as potential
In view of the five year lead time from
entry to university to entry into practice
and recognising the university sector
is independent to set intake numbers
and entry scores appropriate for
their circumstance, a more accurate
projection of the balance between
supply and demand for pharmacists
is essential to inform potential
students of career opportunities
upon graduation and registration.
Scenario based projections of future
demand, a revised 4CPA workforce
model plus a longitudinal study of
the actual workforce would together
provide the basis for development
of a comprehensive all-of-profession
workforce strategy. The significant
concern expressed in relation to the
internship program warrants specific
and detailed investigation.
While no resolutions were adopted by
the summit other than prioritising the
issues, the following are the authors’
proposed actions based on the
responses to the questionnaire and the
discussion at the summit.
The collaborative process involved in
the conduct of the summit should be
maintained in addressing the identified
issues. As a first step, the profession
should seek the collaboration of AIHW,
AHPRA and the DoH to ensure that
currently collected workforce data
are collated and analysed in a timely
manner and are available to assist in the
development of a workforce plan which
informs current and future workforce
planning. The profession should
advocate to the Federal government
for funding to develop a workforce
strategy including scenario-based
projections of both supply and demand.
Within this approach, the benefits of a
longitudinal study of the pharmacist
workforce should be recognised.
A future summit should be considered
in order to maintain whole-of-profession
This paper provides a consolidated
perspective of the major Australian
pharmacy organisations in relation to
the pharmacist workforce. It is based
on responses from various sectoral
organisations to a survey and as such
includes a wide variety of views.
In considering the response to the
survey, the summit identified the
highest workforce related priority is to
make use of the potential opportunities
for pharmacists as a result of
demographic driven demand, emerging
professional roles and development of
new services. To do so effectively, the
profession needs to address the barriers
that exist in relation to the full utilisation
of pharmacists in the health care system.
In addition to improving opportunities
for pharmacist practitioners, pharmacy
organisations recognise the need to
maintain the quality of practitioners
including the need to enhance
internship as it exists currently for
graduates entering the profession.
A number of strategies were proposed
to the development of a whole-of-
profession workforce model including
projections of demand based on
scenarios of future practice, enhanced
workforce modelling and longitudinal
study of the workforce.
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