Half of all Australian pharmacists are considering leaving the industry as a result of heavy workloads and unsafe conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
A union survey of 640 pharmacists has found most are struggling with the influx of coronavirus-related work.
A third of respondents believe people infected with the virus have visited their pharmacy and only 40 per cent have specific training to deal with the disease.
Professional Pharmacists Australia CEO Gordon Brock said his members were being pushed to their limits by employers who were not giving staff proper support.
“Pharmacists are on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19,” he said.
“They should be supported by additional staff and provided with appropriate training, personal protective clothing and safe working conditions.”
Brock said the lack of training was putting staff and customers at risk.
One in five pharmacies are not being properly disinfected, and one in four are not directing potentially infected people to the national coronavirus hotline.
Of the pharmacists threatening to quit, or who have already done so, two-thirds blamed their employer’s handling of the pandemic.
Almost three-quarters of pharmacists said their workload had increased significantly.
Forty per cent worked extra hours to cope with demand, while one in three worked through their breaks.
“The failure of employers to properly support pharmacists throughout the COVID-19 crisis may result in an exodus from the industry,” Brock said.