The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) welcomes the release by National Cabinet of the findings of the final Kruk Report. The report, an independent review of health practitioner regulatory settings, highlights the need for streamlined processes for overseas-trained pharmacists to reduce workforce shortages.
APC is at the forefront of accommodating the growing demand of overseas-trained pharmacists seeking opportunities in Australia. APC has been proactive in changing operations to support the demand, including implementing a Candidate Relationship Team to support candidates throughout their journey.
Bronwyn Clark, APC Chief Executive Officer, says their commitment to maintaining high standards while ensuring a swift and efficient assessment process has set them apart from other health professions.
"We have managed to keep up with the demand to complete eligibility checks and offer exams to the vast majority of eligible candidates, which is a testament to the dedication of our team and the adaptability of APC," said Ms Clark.
APC has processed over a 100% increase in applications in FY23 compared to the previous year. Despite this, they are currently processing applications in real time. They have also engaged in more than 45,000 interactions with candidates through phone calls and emails in FY23, ensuring prompt and efficient communication, with over 85% of queries being addressed within a day and 80% of calls answered in real time.
Australia is renowned for its high standards of pharmacy education. APC boasts excellent accreditation processes, as evidenced by their awarding of the prestigious FIP Seal. Meanwhile, their skills assessment standards and processes for overseas-trained pharmacists adhere to best practices, ensuring that safety and quality are never compromised.
APC is exploring the inclusion of additional countries in their Competency Stream and scoping what a fast-track route could look like for them.
"Through our international connections, we see some great opportunities through a review of our Competency Stream routes.
"Opposed to our Knowledge Stream, this stream does not include the requirement to complete a full internship in Australia, making for a fast-tracked process," added Ms Clark.
Ms Clark says they are also collaborating with organisations such as the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia who offer job-ready courses post-KAPS exam, ensuring that overseas-trained pharmacists can integrate seamlessly into the workforce.
"We pride ourselves on being modern and nimble, whilst committing to safety and quality. With Australia's growing attractiveness as a destination for pharmacists, we will continue to be proactive in gearing up to meet the increasing demands of candidates and supporting them into the workforce.
"APC has really positioned itself as a leader in this field, showing a remarkable ability to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of healthcare in Australia and the need for an increased pharmacist workforce," Ms Clark concluded.