Pharmacists Deserve Proper Remuneration

Pharmacists Deserve Proper Remuneration Main Image

30 November 2021

Millions of people across Australia are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and it's in no small part thanks to our pharmacists. There are close to 6,000 community pharmacies across Australia and, while they weren't included in our vaccine rollout from the beginning, ever since they've joined the race vaccination numbers have safely and steadily risen. In fact, according to the Australia Immunisation Register, pharmacists have administered over a million doses of AZ and over a million doses of Moderna and are now administering the universal booster Pfizer at a rate of 3,000 jabs a day. As a pharmacist of over 20 years, I would like to personally recognise the contribution of pharmacists to helping keep Australians safe, and I was pleased to join those efforts as a volunteer immuniser at Kanwal Village pharmacy in my electorate. It's a critical role and is becoming more vital as we face emerging variants.

But, unfortunately, pharmacists aren't always properly recognised for the work they do. Given the training, compliance requirements and time taken for pharmacists to support the vaccine rollout I don't know how the government can justify their remuneration. According to the government's own schedule of payments, pharmacists are paid as little as $16 for first doses, $26 for second doses and $16 for boosters. Healthcare workers doing the same job deserve to be paid the same. Pharmacists are some of the most trusted and most accessible healthcare professionals out in our communities, and there are around 70 towns in Australia that have no GP or other health service but do have a pharmacy. These communities and communities across Australia rely on pharmacists, and pharmacists deserve proper remuneration—same job, same pay.