The healthcare system in Australia provides quality, safe and affordable health care to its population, and is managed at local, state and territory, and federal levels. It has a large, diverse healthcare workforce providing care through public and private arms of the healthcare system. Australian pharmacists have an integral role in promoting the quality use of medicines and optimising health care for the Australian population.
Australia has more than 35,000 pharmacists, with more than 7,000 practising in Brisbane and other cities in the state of Queensland. Most Australian pharmacists have completed a pharmacy degree from one of the country’s 17 accredited pharmacy schools. Together, these schools graduate close to 2,000 students per year.
Registered pharmacists work in many areas of the healthcare sector — community, hospitals, general practice, aged care, universities, government departments of health and the pharmaceutical industry. Australian pharmacists’ scope of practice is expanding. Opportunities such as, specialty clinical positions, clinical trials and collaborative pharmacist prescribing, will further their contribution to the health and well-being of Australians.
The Australian healthcare system, like its international counterparts, has several challenges, such as an ageing population with rising rates of chronic diseases, and increasing costs associated with health care as well as medical research and innovations. These are compounded by accessibility challenges, with vast distances between many of Australia’s regional and rural centres.
Emerging health technologies and availability of health data have the potential for better use for research, education, delivery of health services and shaping policy. The FIP 2023 congress theme “Pharmacy building a sustainable future for healthcare — Aligning goals to 2030”, fits well in offering solutions and approaches to addressing the challenges faced by the Australian healthcare system and its workforce.