National Volunteer Week, which runs from 11th to 17th May, is an ideal time to acknowledge the work of the pharmacists and retired pharmacists who support their colleagues as volunteers with the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS).
About 25 pharmacists, professionally trained for this role, work behind the scenes to provide telephone support service to Australian pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students who call to discuss issues causing stress in their lives.
PSS was originally established in 1995 as a service for Victorian pharmacists but is now available to all Australian pharmacists, interns and students every day of the year between 8am and 11pm on 1300 244 910. PSS provides anonymity to all callers and is as close as your phone when you need to talk.
The PSS volunteers not only participate in a roster to take calls but also give up their time to attend training on a regular basis. PSS President, John Coppock said: “Over the last 20 years the volunteers behind the service have generously provided over 120,000 hours of their own time as pharmacists supporting pharmacists.” John also noted: “The volunteers are vital to PSS, the service would not exist without them. Their commitment to the service is exceptional, especially as they remain anonymous without public recognition.”
Not everyone can volunteer but all Australian pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students can all support the work of PSS by making a tax deductible donation. The service is totally reliant on the generosity of the pharmacy profession for financial support. John Coppock reported: “Even though the service is provided by volunteers there are a number of expenses including volunteer training, telephone expenses, insurance, part-time administrative support and other overheads.”
Donations can be made by direct deposit into the PSS bank account BSB 083-170 account number 145988064 with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing your name and contact details so that a receipt can be issued. Cheques can be sent to Pharmacists’ Support Service c/o 381 Royal Pde, Parkville 3052. Donations can also be made over the phone using a credit card through the PSA (Victorian Branch) office on (03) 9389 4000 who transfer the funds to PSS.
PSS is an independent incorporated association which receives support from the following organisations which are all represented on the PSS Management Committee:
- Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacies Association
- Pharmaceutical Defence Ltd
- Pharmacy Guild of Australia
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
- Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria Ltd
- Professional Pharmacists Australia
- Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia
- National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association.