Date: 10 November 2021
Pharmacist and Federal MP Emma McBride has supported calls for pharmacists to be appropriately remunerated for their role in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.
Ms McBride, the Federal Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Assistant Minister for Carers, was addressing the Guild Industry and COVID-19 webinar.
She said she supported the principal of “same job, same pay” in relation to the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations
Acknowledging the role of pharmacists throughout COVID-19, Ms McBride said: “Pharmacists, unlike many other workers, or even many other health workers, have remained open and on the front line for the whole of COVID, working day and night, evenings and weekends.”
She said they did this in the face of fear of catching the virus themselves and at times hostile behaviour from patients.
“I know it’s taken a toll,” she said.
But the fact the vaccination rates were so high was due in part to the fact that community pharmacists became involved in the rollout.
“I don’t know why pharmacists weren’t involved in the vaccine rollout form the very beginning.
“They’re trained and ready and just wanted to do their thing but felt they were sidelined.”
Ms McBride said pharmacists hadn’t been properly recognised under the national vaccination rollout.
“I can’t understand how the Government can justify the gap in remuneration [between pharmacists and doctors],” she said.
“It should be ‘same job, same pay’, and pharmacists should be properly recognised for the work that they’re doing, for the skills and expertise that pharmacists have.
“There shouldn’t be that disparity between what pharmacists are remunerated.
“Pharmacists have told me some of them are going backwards in order to be able to provide the vaccine, but the way that they’re being remunerated is hindering them from doing it.
“I don’t want to see any community pharmacist not join the vaccine rollout, or feel that they can’t continue to stay in it because of the remuneration - it’s just not right.”
MS McBride said pharmacists need to be able to work to their full scope of practice.
“We need to be working to the top of scope of practice” as pharmacists had the knowledge and skills to contribute a lot more than the system allowed them to.
“It’s one thing for the Government to say, ‘we recognise pharmacists’, or ‘we acknowledge your contribution’,” she said.
“In properly valuing it, they need to remunerate it, as some people have said to me ‘the time for cupcakes and applause is over’.
“What we really need to see is proper remuneration to really see the value of what pharmacists do.”
Contact: The Guild