Aged care on-site pharmacist

We provide access to funding for community pharmacies and residential aged care homes to employ on-site pharmacists to work in residential aged care homes.

About aged care on-site pharmacists

From 1 July 2024, funding will be available for community pharmacies and aged care providers to employ on-site pharmacists in residential aged care homes. 

Aged care on-site pharmacists will regularly review medications to reduce medication related harm and optimise the use of medicines. 

They will also work with aged care staff to improve health outcomes of residents and build confidence with families and carers.

Participation is voluntary. 

Read the role description for the aged care on-site pharmacist.

Why it’s important

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified medication management and safety in residential aged care homes as an essential area for improvement. This measure responds to the final report recommendations. 


This measure aims to: 

  • improve medication use and safety in the residential aged care home, including safe and appropriate use of high-risk medications 
  • provide continuity in medication management, such as day-to-day review of medications and prompt issue resolution 
  • provide easy access to pharmacist advice for residents and staff 
  • integrate on-site pharmacists with the healthcare team, including local general practitioners, nurses and community pharmacy
  • increase understanding of individual resident needs.

How it works

From 1 July 2024, the funding will be available to:

  • community pharmacies to place pharmacists in residential aged care homes
  • residential aged care homes to engage an on-site pharmacist, where:
    • community pharmacies can’t or choose not to participate
    • the residential aged care home and community pharmacy can’t come to a suitable agreement. 

Residential aged care homes can approach the community pharmacy of their choice to source an aged care on-site pharmacist. 

There is no location or proximity restriction. This is to support existing working relationships between a residential aged care home and their community pharmacy.

Residential aged care homes can also work with a business that employs credentialed pharmacists. 

We aim for participating Primary Health Networks to assist residential aged care homes with engaging pharmacists, if required. We will provide more details on these arrangements soon. 


The funding is for one aged care on-site pharmacist per 250 beds in a residential aged care home. 

Funding is blocked into 50-bed increments, equivalent to an aged care on-site pharmacist working one day per week. This enables pharmacists to build a regular presence on site, even in smaller residential aged care homes.

Funding does not cover:

  • medicine or medical device supply or delivery – for example, from a pharmacy to the residential aged care home
  • medicine re-packaging – for example, into Dose Administration Aids
  • set up of pharmacies in residential aged care homes.

Residential aged care homes that take up an aged care on-site pharmacist will not be able to receive Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) and Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) Program services from visiting pharmacists at the same time. 

Where an aged care on-site pharmacist is not engaged, there will continue to be funding for aged care residents and residential aged care homes to receive visiting pharmacist support under the QUM and RMMR Pharmacy Programs. 


From 1 July 2024, participating community pharmacies will be able to claim funds for pharmacists’ salaries through the Pharmacy Programs Administrator

Residential aged care homes can engage pharmacists directly from 1 July 2024. Reimbursement of funding will start from 1 October 2024, when the payment administration system is established.


Residential aged care homes

Residential aged care homes are eligible if they either:

Participating residential aged care homes must either:

Residential aged care homes that provide only respite care are not eligible.

Community pharmacies

All approved Section 90 community pharmacies can participate. 


To participate, pharmacists must either: 

  • have completed an Australian Pharmacy Council (APC)-accredited aged care on-site pharmacist training program
  • have an existing Medication Management Review credential and commit to completing by 30 June 2025 either: 
    • an APC-accredited aged care on-site pharmacist training program 
    • an APC-accredited recognition of prior learning process.

Pharmacist training

The  Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has developed accreditation standards and an accreditation system. This provides oversight and quality assurance of training programs for aged care on-site pharmacists. 

Education providers can apply to have their aged care on-site pharmacist training programs accredited against the APC’s standards

See a list of accredited training programs.

Pharmacist salary

We provide the employer up to $138,282 per year for a full-time equivalent aged care on-site pharmacist. This includes:

  • 20 days paid annual leave
  • up to 10 days paid personal leave
  • paid public holidays
  • superannuation.

The pharmacist and the employer will negotiate the pharmacist’s salary. This might result in a salary that is higher or lower than the government funding provided. 

Where the aged care on-site pharmacist’s salary is higher than the government funded amount, the employer funds the extra amount.

Working arrangements

Aged care on-site pharmacist must be in the residential aged care home for minimum blocks of half days (3.8 hours) at a time. The pharmacist and residential aged care home will agree to a regular working schedule.

In residential aged care homes located in rural or remote areas (MMM 5 to 7), the pharmacist gets extended flexible working arrangements. This includes working over a condensed period. 

The pharmacist must conduct their activities on site in the residential aged care home. If the facility-level Medication Advisory Committee holds virtual meetings, the pharmacist can attend those virtually.


We held consultations in 2022 with various stakeholders, including:

  • aged care
  • pharmacy
  • nursing and medical 
  • leading researchers of pharmacy services in aged care.

Read what we’ve heard from this previous consultation

Early in 2024, we held further consultations with stakeholders on implementing the measure.

Stakeholders expressed interest in:

  • the role of the aged care on-site pharmacist
  • training and credentialing
  • payment and administration
  • reporting, monitoring and compliance.

We thank them for their feedback, which has informed our overall approach.

Learn more

For more information, see: 

We are developing resources to support aged care on-site pharmacists. 

Date last updated:

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