‘Placement poverty’ affecting future of health sector workforce

6 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is pleased to see the Federal Government taking action to relieve cost of living pressure on students undertaking mandatory unpaid placements as part of their studies but warns that students in pharmacy and other allied health professions are being left behind.


Students studying pharmacy and paramedicine are among thousands who will fall outside of today’s announcement, with unpaid clinical placements forcing some to give up their education altogether.


Under accreditation requirements, pharmacy students are required to undertake clinical placements as part of their course of study.


PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said that the government’s recognition of the strain unpaid placements has on students is the first step, but more needs to be done.


“Clinical placements are a valuable part of the learning experience, but they cannot come at the expense of our student’s livelihoods,” A/Prof Sim says.


“Training the next generation of pharmacists, I see first-hand the pressure unpaid placements put on our students. I’ve seen pharmacy students forced to give up paid work, struggle to make ends meet, and worryingly, drop out of their degrees altogether.


“Many placement sites and pharmacist preceptors also do not get any funding to host placement students.


“Pharmacy students and the pharmacy profession require support to continue to meet the growing future health needs of Australians. We need more people to pick pharmacy as their career choice, and that support must start now.


“All students undertaking compulsory unpaid placements, including pharmacy students, deserve access to government support.


“I urge the Federal Government to revisit this policy and offer the same financial support to all health students who are required to undertake clinical placements as part of their studies.”


National Australian Pharmacy Students Association (NAPSA) President Bano Serhan echoed calls for pharmacy students to have access to support.


“The government has acknowledged that placement poverty deeply affects students, and this is no different for our members,” she says.


“Pharmacy students are being left behind in the budget, at a time when they need more support to build a better and more diverse healthcare workforce.”



PSA contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

NAPSA contact: Sebastian Harper    M: 0437 926 889  E: treasurer@napsa.org.au

Pharmacists recognised in Governor-General’s Honours

26 January 2024


On behalf of the pharmacy profession, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) acknowledges and congratulates the Australian pharmacists recognised in today’s Governor-General’s honours.


The following pharmacists received Honours from the Governor-General today:

  • ​Dr Jennifer (Jenny) Gowan FPS, Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
  • Mr Desmond Lum MPS, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
  • Ms Julie Rose Adams, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)


PSA National President A/Prof Fei Sim FPS congratulated the award recipients.

“The pharmacists recognised today have dedicated their lives to the health of their communities,” Dr Sim said.

“Congratulations to Dr Jenny Gowan, Mr Demond Lum, and Ms Julie Adams on your outstanding careers and your recognition as pillars of the community.

“On behalf of Australians, thank you for your contributions to our profession and our country,” A/Prof Sim said.

Dr Jennifer (Jenny) Gowan FPS

Dr Jenny Gowan FPS is a widely celebrated credentialed pharmacist, having been awarded PSA’s 2013 Pharmacist of the Year award as well as the AACP’s Consultant Pharmacist of the Year award in 2016.

Dr Gowan served on PSA’s Victorian Branch Committee for many years, and as the Branch’s Vice-President from 2021 to 2023. She has been a member of the PSA for 48 years.

Dr Gowan has been recognised by the Governor-General for her significant service to medicine as a pharmacist, to professional societies, and to community health.

Mr Desmond Lum MPS

Former community pharmacist Desmond Lum MPS has been recognised for his service to the communities of Holbrook and Thurgoona. Following a 30-year career as a pharmacist, Mr Lum has continued giving back to his communities through the Thurgoona Lions Club, the Thurgoona Men’s Shed, St Patrick’s School and various other organisations in the Albury-Wodonga region.

Mr Lum is a life member of the PSA, having been a member for 53 years.

Ms Julie Adams

Hospital Pharmacist Julie Adams was recognised for her service to pharmaceutical oncology.

Ms Adams has become a leader in oncology pharmacy and has expanded the role of pharmacists through innovation, research, and education. Ms Adam’s passion for pharmacy throughout her career has resulted in her being an inspirational member of the profession and a worthy recipient of the Pharmaceutical Society of Western Australia’s 2020 Eric Kirk Memorial Award.

PSA also congratulates former staff member Mr Peter Waterman, who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to media and journalism.

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au