The opening of a $1.3 million pharmacy laboratory at Charles Sturt University (CSU) on Wednesday 25 November marks a high point in the commitment to the recruitment and retention of pharmacists to country areas, according to the Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences, Associate Professor Mark Burton.
“Like the situation with recruiting GPs to country areas, there is a major problem in attracting pharmacists to the bush,” Professor Burton said.
In recognising this, Professor Burton said the Pharmacy Board of NSW, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have supported the introduction of the pharmacy course at CSU – currently the only non-metropolitan program in Australia.
“Recruitment and retention problems in the country will be reversed by our graduates, and this will provide a model for delivery of other areas of primary healthcare,” he said.
Professor Burton said the laboratory is the most advanced pharmacy laboratory training complex in Australia and was specifically designed to cater for students entering the University’s pharmacy course.
The complex includes two stories of specialised laboratories providing training from the pharmaceutical sciences to the more patient-oriented areas of pharmacy practice.
“Students graduating from this program will benefit from the latest pharmacy technology and computerised training systems currently available.
“Our students will not only be equipped for the profession as practiced in metropolitan areas, but will have the added advantage of significant on-site experience in country Australia,” Professor Burton said.
He said the University’s commitment to pharmacy has been extended by the financial support of companies such as Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, Sigma, Faulding and Amcal, and most notable, support from local and regional pharmacists.
The new laboratory will be opened by the National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Mr John Bronger, at the Wagga Wagga campus at 11.00 am. The function will also be addressed by CSU’s Chancellor, Mr David Asimus, AO, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor C D Blake, AM.