Alchemy - Issue 28 - Page 13

Fostering a sustainable future for pharmacists The Australian Pharmacist Workforce Summit – the first event of its kind – was held at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in June. The event attracted delegates from the major pharmacy organisations, along with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. A joint initiative of the faculty’s Project Pharmacist and the Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF), the Workforce Summit gathered delegates under the theme ‘Uniting our profession for a sustainable future’. “We surveyed the major pharmacy organisations in advance to shape the agenda for the summit,” John says. “Our objective was to consider the pharmacist workforce in all areas of practice and identify major issues affecting sustainable and rewarding professional roles that contribute to the health of the Australian population.” As Project Pharmacist director John Jackson explains, the aim of the summit was to identify and explore the major issues of the pharmacist workforce. “It’s in our interest as educators to ensure practice opportunities meet the needs and expectations of our graduates, the wider profession and the community,” he says. “When the faculty established Project Pharmacist last year, we began by identifying factors surrounding primary care pharmacists which have a bearing on the implementation of new professional roles. One of the priority factors identified was the workforce.” John sees the capability and capacity of the workforce as underpinning the profession’s future. “A professional and sustainable workforce is essential to address the growing needs of the population and enable the continued expansion of the pharmacist’s scope of practice. So we decided to conduct a comprehensive workforce summit. As the APLF was also keen to conduct a workforce study, we collaborated to deliver the summit jointly.” Project Pharmacist is an initiative of the Monash Centre for Medicine Use and Safety. Established in 2014, Project Pharmacist seeks to support new models of practice for pharmacists – to better benefit patients, meet health care demands and build a rewarding profession. He adds that the initiative sought to take a comprehensive look at the workforce issues, and identify the data needed to monitor and address these. “The feedback from the survey and subsequent assessment at the summit identified a range of priority areas,” John says. “We need to study the workforce opportunities and issues from the perspectives of both supply and demand. We need to explore the attitudes and beliefs of pharmacists. And we need to conduct a longitudinal study tracking a group of pharmacists over several years. “Building on the valuable groundwork of the summit, Project Pharmacist will seek to continue to work with the APLF and other groups to investigate these and other issues pertinent to the enhancement of pharmacists’ practice – for the profession and the broader community.” 11