For years now, the ACT health sector has been largely ignored by both sides of politics. Plans for a new hospital and scheduled upgrades have fallen by the wayside.
Now, the Government has made a commitment to ‘future-proof the health system’ by pledging millions to pharmacy in Wednesday’s 2019-20 Budget announcement.
ACT Budget 2019-20: Building for the future
Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris alongside Chief Minister Andrew Barr have announced a two-year $5.5 million investment into The Canberra Hospital Pharmacy Department to upgrade facilities and employ new staff.
Thanks largely to the tireless efforts of our members, the Government finally understands the needs of pharmacists. This Budget announcement is proof that ACT Health pharmacists and technicians working together with their union can advocate for change and reform.
“We’re heading in the right direction now, it’s a very big turnaround from where we were 12 months ago. We continue to have very positive discussions with the minister and the ACT Health Executive towards the ongoing improvement to the Pharmacy Department,” said Dale Beasley, Director, PPA.
Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) welcomes this investment into improving the capacity of The Canberra Hospital Pharmacy Department and believe it is another positive step to addressing the long-standing issues of attraction and retention in the Pharmacy Department.
This funding announcement comes side-by-side with the new Health Professionals Enterprise Agreement (HPEA) which came into force on Wednesday 5 June. The HPEA provides for salary increases, improved career progression, flexible work arrangements and professional development support.
“The steps forward so far have been big, but the work’s not done yet. Up next we’ll be working with ACT Health on improvements to career paths by implementing new broad banded classifications and providing classification progression based on competency from level one through to level three.”
Alongside the Government’s Budget commitment, we’re confident that we will start to turn around the long-standing issues of attraction and retention in pharmacy.
“Gone will be the days of pharmacists becoming stuck at a level until the pharmacist ahead of them moves on. The new system of competency-based progression will ensure pharmacists advance in their career based on their increasing competence as a health professional.”
This is just the beginning. ACT pharmacists have secured the agreement, now they have the funding. It’s now their hands to hold both ACT Health and the Government accountable for their promises.