The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) was established in 1995 by the Victorian Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). The PSS was formed in response to advice from the Doctors Health Advisory Service (DHAS) which had received requests for help from some pharmacists. DHAS was an organisation set up at that time to assist medical practitioners with health problems.
Valerie Constable, who was at the time a Councillor of PSA (Victoria), established PSS with the assistance of a support group of volunteer pharmacists who freely offered their time out of concern for their fellow pharmacists. PSS is indebted to Val for the drive and energy she devoted to setting up PSS from its inception and being the main contact person for the early part of its operation. PSS works on the principle of pharmacists supporting pharmacists. PSS appreciates the significant generosity of its team of volunteers who have continued to provide support to their peers every day of the year since 1995.
Over time and with an increasing number of calls from outside Victoria PSS identified a need to expand and seek support from the broader pharmacy profession. In February 2010 PSS became an independent incorporated association in order to expand the service outside Victoria. Now PSS has representatives on the Management Committee from a range of national pharmacy organisations including PSA, Pharmaceutical Defence Ltd (PDL), the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA), Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA), the Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacies Association (AFSPA), the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria Ltd (PSV). These organisations fund and support the work of PSS. The National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) is also represented by an observer on the PSS Management Committee.
PSS is now a charity and has been granted deductible gift recipient status (DGR) and taxation concessions by the ATO. We welcome donations from the broader pharmacy profession.
In March 2011, Kay Dunkley, was awarded the Cyril Tonkin Travel Fellowship and travelled to the United Kingdom to meet with representative of a range of organisations which provide support to pharmacists and doctors. The findings of this study tour have provided direction and a model for the future development of PSS
PSS has now expanded from its Victorian base to all states and territories of Australia and is now a truly national service which provides support to pharmacists and pharmacy students and interns throughout Australia. PSS is now requires adequate ongoing funding from the profession to support the continuing work of the service.