Exclusive Interview: Angela Boyatzis, Chair AMCAL National Council

The award-winning pharmacist and pharmacy owner with an extensive background across the industry and now representing more than 300 Amcal pharmacy members on the group’s national body, addresses 60-day dispensing, the evolution of the pharmacist role, and her priorities in supporting the membership to navigate “this turbulent time”.

Angela, tell us about your pharmacy background and your role at Amcal. 

With more than 25 years of industry experience, including owning and operating a community pharmacy for nearly 15 years, I have a deep understanding of the intricacies of the pharmacy profession. As a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, I have also held roles in the academic, hospital and industry body sectors. Additionally, I have extensive retail pharmacy experience in Western Australia and the UK, including for Boots pharmacies.

Furthermore, I’m a PCCA-accredited compounding pharmacist and have received both national and state recognition for my contributions to the industry, including twice winning the national Amcal Pharmacy of the Year award [for Amcal+ Pharmacy Como in Perth] and being awarded PSA WA Pharmacist of the Year 2020.

As Chair of the Amcal National Council, my role involves not only representing more than 300 Australian pharmacies but also fostering positive relationships with industry partners to seek new opportunities for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders. My dedication to ensuring Amcal remains a trusted healthcare pharmacy brand in Australia and meets the needs of all Australians is unwavering.

How has Amcal reacted to the announcement of 60-day dispensing in the federal budget? 

Amcal moved swiftly to advise members of anticipated loss, using its existing relationship with NostraData. Effective communication was essential in these situations, and we participated in webinars and received regular newsletters from our Head of Brand to complement the information being provided by the Pharmacy Guild.

Practical support was given in ways to mitigate risk but remain agile as the situation was changing rapidly. The Amcal National Council held regular meetings to ensure member feedback was received in real-time and actioned quickly. Communication among franchise partners was constant, as we’re a strongly united group, which meant members could advise and support each other during a challenging time for the profession.

What role do you see pharmacists playing in the Australian healthcare setting? 

Pharmacists remain among the most trusted and accessible healthcare professionals in Australia. The pharmacist’s role in delivering primary healthcare and professional services is critical to patients but will need to adapt and evolve as the current business model has been changed as a result of the May federal budget announcements.

Pharmacists will be forced to ensure their time and resources are fairly remunerated – to ensure the sustainability of their businesses going forward. Current services provided by many pharmacies, such as after-hours care, walk-in vaccinations, dose administration aids and home deliveries, will need to be reviewed to remain viable.

The emerging trends seen across Australia, with more vaccinations being provided in pharmacies and the success of pharmacist prescribing trials, will result in these areas expanding to meet the needs of patients in our current healthcare system.

What are your priorities for the coming period? 

Ensuring that Amcal members continue to receive all the necessary tools and support to navigate this turbulent time in our industry is my top priority. The voice of the membership remains a top priority as the Amcal National Council represents more than 300 Australian pharmacies.

Additionally, I will foster positive relationships with industry partners for the benefit of Amcal franchise members and seek new opportunities for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.

Supporting Sigma management with the retail strategy rollout is critical, as brand differentiation through unique product range and value is crucial for the viability of all businesses.

Amcal has more than 85 years’ heritage in supporting the community, so a top priority is to ensure that Amcal not only continues to be recognised as one of the most trusted healthcare pharmacy brands in Australia but also is top of mind for consumers when looking for a contemporary health destination that meets the needs of all Australians.

Finally, I’m committed to ensuring that the Amcal membership continues to grow in strength and numbers, as we’ve always been a united and close-knit community that attracts both franchise partners to our brand and community members to our much-loved retail stores.

This feature was originally published in the August issue of Retail Pharmacy magazine. 

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