Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist December 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist December 2013 I © Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
A victory for common
The Coalition Government’s decision to
scrap the cap, that is to shelve plans to
impose a $2,000 tax deductibility limit
on education expenses, is a victory for
pragmatism and common sense.
The cap was proposed by the previous
Labor Government in its final days and
was announced without consultation or
any real insight as to what impact such a
move would have.
I had particular concern for the many
women pharmacists and other women
professionals who would have been really
hit hard by any cap. Whoever came up
with the idea clearly did not understand
the dynamics of the professional
workforce or the inequities it would have
had on many professional women in
The PSA experience provides a snapshot.
We have more than 18,000 members,
some two‐thirds of whom are females.
A great many of these female pharmacists
do not work full time and their working
hours can vary from as little as the
occasional locum position, a half day a
week, up to a few days a week depending
on their needs and circumstances.
But each and every one of these
pharmacists still needs to complete
the same number of continuing
professional education requirements
as their male counterparts who our
data shows are predominantly full time
workers – and thus earning full time
wages. In addition, women pharmacists
who take time off to raise a family
need to undertake a range of catch‐up
courses when they want to return to
the workforce and these all require
expenditure in terms of time and money.
It was perhaps because the policy was
so ill‐conceived that it sparked the
reaction it did, with the Scrap the Cap
Alliance – representing some 1.6 million
professionals of which PSA was a strong
and active member – leading the chorus
At PSA we were particularly concerned
about this proposal and in addition to our
activities with the Alliance we undertook
some robust advocacy on behalf of our
members to have the proposal scrapped.
The success of our advocacy, in
conjunction with that of the Alliance
and many other voices, sets a good
foundation for building relationships with
the new Government.
There is no doubt that the Coalition
faces many challenges in meeting voters’
expectations while also working within
the budget parameters which must seek
to serve slices of an ever‐tightening
budgetary pie to a greater number of
people demanding a piece of that pie.
At PSA we are establishing new
relationships – and building on existing
ones – with the new Government and
to this end we are already presenting
ideas and solutions for the Government
to examine and build into its
Underpinning our work is the belief that
the Government must better utilise the
skills and knowledge of our members.
To this end we have undertaken the
Health Destination Pharmacy Trial
which presents a model for the future of
pharmacy, a future where the pharmacists
is a healthcare clinician and the pharmacy
a healthcare destination.
The philosophy of pharmacists being
healthcare clinicians is important.
Surprisingly, many pharmacists presently
do not see themselves in this role and
this perhaps because of our focus
This focus, of course is shifting as more
pressures are put on dispensing margins
and we seek ways to ensure our viability
and sustainability into the future.
Having the pharmacy become a health
destination is a no brainer – we already
have the skills and knowledge to fulfil this
role but to date the use of these attributes
has been very limited.
Our problem is that if pharmacists do not
see themselves as healthcare clinicians,
it is hard to expect the Government to
see them that way and factor us into the
health system appropriately.
This is one of our challenges, not just as
an organisation but as individuals. We are
taking up that challenge at PSA and while
building a rapport with the Government
are also building the basis for the
The Coalition Government’s decision to scrap the cap on education expenses,
is a victory for pragmatism and common sense.
LIESEL WETT, PSA CEO
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