Majority in favour of removing Pharmacists From SOL

23rd March 2012
Both the Guild and SHPA said data to be released by the Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA) in the first half of this year will provide more detailed workforce information for pharmacists on a national basis. This data, while not available for the consideration of this year’s SOL, will enable these organisations to provide a definitive view on the adequacy of the pharmacy workforce to
meet the future needs of the Australian community.
SHPA believes better data on where pharmacists work when initially registered and later in their career, is required to understand where there are any shortages and inform decisions such as listing pharmacists on the migration SOL.
SHPA President Sue Kirsa said: “Although there are many newly qualified pharmacists, we do have problems in filling positions that require highly skilled clinical pharmacists and positions in rural areas.” SHPA believes that there is a need for a period of stability of decision making so that evidence for or against the inclusion of pharmacists in the SOL can be gathered and assessed.
The organisations believe the unevenness in the supply of pharmacists across urban, rural and regional areas should be addressed broadly through reducing barriers to providing services outside pharmacies and targeted rural pharmacy programs.
Additionally, there are other visa subclasses that could be utilised to address labour shortages in particular areas. The Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) and State Migration Plan are two options. Pharmacists are on the ENS occupations list, and on the State Migration Plan lists for the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, ACT and NSW. Both of these visa subclasses are prioritised higher than SOL applicants and, therefore, could be a more
effective way to deal with rural and regional shortages.
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