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- Issue 81: April 2009
- Issue 80: March 2009
- Issue 79: February 2009
- Issue 78: December 2008
- Issue 77: November 2008
- Issue 76: October 2008
- Issue 75: September 2008
- Issue 74: August 2008
- Issue 73: July 2008
- Issue 72: June 2008

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We are in the process of moving all of our articles to the new site.

In the meantime you can find them on the old i2P site.

Australian Pharmacy Needs a Prescription of Reality

Andrew Bryant
From a Recent Graduate Perspective

Issue 75: September 2008
Page: 1 of 1 Author's Profile | Send to a Friend | Printer Version

I and my family together with many other Australians are Aussie battlers and have come to be labelled as working families.
We have worked hard and have struggled to strive to where we are today.
I am a child of Bob Hawke’s Australia and was instilled with the values of mateship and a fair go. I would consider it Un-Australian to dob, however, I would also consider it Un-Australian to rob.
Once an education was for everyone and graduates were in a position to obtain employment. Now economically disadvantaged students graduate with a large HECS debt and are forced to compete with international students.

For everyone in this saturated environment, employment depends on who you know not what you know, or how you can perform. Australian pharmacy graduates have been robbed of employment and a stable future by the very people who are responsible for our education.
Many people in Australian pharmacy schools have positions within both public and private organisations in Australian pharmacy. Many of them would have had a free education and the opportunity to obtain employment where they wanted to work and would be in a position of power to change things for the better.

The excessive number of pharmacy schools let alone graduates and international students, who now not only graduate first but have the ability to stay has all but, destroyed Australian pharmacy.

Wages for traineeships and pharmacists have decreased and will continue to decrease as more graduates are produced and gain accreditation.
A significant majority of pharmacy traineeships are now only offered over two years forcing graduates to obtain further employment.
Students are now even completing their traineeships in rural areas for free!
This is immoral and should be labelled for what it is, slavery.
I know people of my background who have moved interstate and obtained a traineeship being forced to go into further debt and have had to rely on their families for financial support.
For graduates with large HECS debts from working families this is out of the question.
For people to wash their hands and state that graduates should be prepared to seek employment in other states and rural areas should note a graduate’s background and their income compared to the costs of shelter, food, transport, and CPE.
I find such broad sweeping statements devoid of reality.

There are many graduates who have preformed hundreds if not thousands of extra hours of voluntary work in community and hospital pharmacy practice.
These graduates have also worked as either a pharmacy assistant or a dispensary assistant.  Like me these graduates have a high standard of communication and interpersonal skills, organisational and leadership skills, as well as, customer service skills. 
It should be noted that even obtaining a job as a pharmacy assistant or dispensary technician is a Catch 22 in itself.
To obtain a job, employers want a person who has had Guild training and yet to get Guild training you need to be employed!

Australia prior to 2003 already had the highest people to pharmacist ratio in all of the OECD nations.

It should be noted that out of all the major health professions in Australia, our pharmacy degrees are not recognised to the same extent in other OECD countries as our Australian health counterparts: medical practitioners  and nurses. Therefore overseas employment is not an option.

Now the profession is split between owners and employees. Many pharmacy owners see the future health service provisions that are being developed for pharmacy as untenable, both financially and professionally.  
Business is too tight or the returns too little and other health professionals are often uncooperative to help perform such services as we move onto their turf.

Other health professionals such as nursing are unified, get adequate compensation and are furthering their roles as primary health professions at the expense of pharmacy.
Each Australian pharmacy organisation has its own agenda.
Disunity is death.
Australian pharmacy needs to be nationalised and have a common goal, like nursing. Pharmacy employees seek and demand adequate compensation for CPE and locum work, let alone a decent standard of living (AUS$40,000+).
Business stability is vital for an economy and the question is how many people can afford to continue on through these now tough and unstable times – both owners and employees.

The graduate pharmacy schools need to be closed. International student numbers must be cut or become non existent as if it were not for them the jobs would be there for Australian graduates.
One cannot be angry at them for wanting to stay, universities must have realised that they would have stayed.
There is no need for their current number to be graduating from Australian universities.
If there is a need then the old rules of returning to your country of origin need to be reinstated.  Domestic student numbers need also to be set at a sustainable level.

Pharmacy programs must be able to be accessed both in metropolitan and rural areas.

It is important to note that there has been a move away from hard work, initiative and competency to only a GPA based approach when gaining employment. South Australia especially has little or no equality of opportunity compared to other Australian states. 
To say the least this is narrow minded and not does consider the person as a whole and what they would be able to offer.

There is a glut of graduates and pre-registration pharmacists nationally.
For every 100 graduates of a pharmacy school, 20 cannot gain preregistration positions.
This will eventually create a national glut of pharmacists.
Those on existing contracts will continue to have stable employment, however those who do not have contracts will continue to be employed on a casual basis and have no long term prospects - imagine getting a bank loan for a house.
Real wages have and will continue to decrease, job stability and promotion is non existent, and highly competent hard working people cannot get a job.

All of these points have been raised before and yet no one in power wants to take notice.
The powers that be have had their opportunity and do not want to consider anyone else.  Pharmacy schools especially and their leaders need to be accountable for the industry’s current and future situation.
I find it difficult for power bases such as these to have our body’s interest at heart.

Australian Pharmacy needs a prescription of reality.
In the future pharmacy will exist but not as we know it today and everyone will be the worse for it.
Forget an equality of outcome from university studies and even more importantly forget an equality of opportunity from university studies.
Future and current pharmacists are being robbed of a fair go of employment and stability – this is Un-Australian.
To continue this course for Australian pharmacy practice is nothing but suicide. 

Andrew Bryant, University of South Australia Pharmacy Graduate 2008

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