1. Australians endorse pharmacist vaccinations
August 14, 2018
Almost two-in-three Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer common vaccinations that are currently only administered by doctors, according to new research released by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
The nationwide poll by YouGov Galaxy found that 64 per cent of Australians support pharmacists administering common vaccines, with greater convenience cited as a benefit by 62 per cent of respondents.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) says that legislative changes at the state and territory levels would allow for vaccines against the likes of whooping cough and meningococcal disease, as well as routine travel vaccinations, to be administered by a pharmacist in the same manner as flu vaccination is now accessed without the need for a doctor’s visit or prescription.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said, “Pharmacists are highly accessible and ideally placed to take on increased responsibility for vaccination.”
Analysis produced for the PSA reveals that since April this year, approximately a quarter of a million Australians have received flu vaccination directly from a pharmacy.
“That’s almost 100 flu vaccinations occurring every hour in pharmacies across the country.
Clearly, this represents a better protected and subsequently healthier Australia and is evidence enough that enhanced access to vaccination results in strong uptake,” he added.
Dr Jackson said that the Tasmanian Government had recently acted to make the meningococcal vaccine available for administration directly from pharmacists and that “this model should now set the vaccination benchmark for other states and territories to follow.”
“Our new research confirms that Australians clearly understand that pharmacists have the skill and training to do more than they currently do.
Common-sense should see legislative changes that allow pharmacists to administer a number of commonly used vaccines.”
The poll of 1,023 Australians also revealed that 60 per cent of Australians believe the cost of a pharmacist administering a vaccine should be covered by Medicare, with a further 24 per cent of the view that private health insurance should cover some of the cost.
The PSA is working with federal, state and territory governments and other health stakeholders to ensure the expertise of professional pharmacists is more fully utilised and that pharmacists are better equipped to enhance community access to vital health services.
2. PSA summit to unite pharmacists and doctors for patient safety
August 17, 2018
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia will host an inter-professional collaboration summit to explore how doctors and pharmacists can work together more effectively to support patient care through the safe use of medicines.
Prompted by a recent Coroner’s report into the death of a Melbourne man following complications of methotrexate toxicity, the summit will bring together leaders from key pharmacy, medical and consumer organisations at Pharmacy House in Canberra on 21 August 2018.
In handing down her findings, Coroner Rosemary Carlin said the patient’s unnecessary death resulted from key failings of the pharmacist and prescribing doctor to work collaboratively to effectively resolve a prescribing error.
In particular, the coroner noted “Doctors and pharmacists should trust and respect each other, whilst retaining their independence.
In dismissing her concerns, it appears that Dr Lim did not afford [the pharmacist] the respect she deserved.
In dispensing the methotrexate despite her concerns, it appears that [the pharmacist] afforded [the GP] too much respect, or at least lost sight of her role as an independent safeguard against inappropriate prescribing.”
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said the Coroner’s report highlights the need for a more collaborative relationship between pharmacists and doctors that recognises their respective roles and responsibilities while also acknowledging their independence.
“The summit will seek to develop a set of principles to support respectful and collaborative practice between pharmacists and doctors,” Dr Jackson said.
“It is time to work together on key principles that underpin the collaborative relationship between pharmacists and doctors, particularly regarding the safe use of medicines, for the benefit of our patients.
“We have invited other professional bodies to join the summit so together, we can empower pharmacists and doctors to meet their duty of care in regards to patient safety.”
Community pharmacists are among the ‘high priority’ professionals who will be offered thousands of dollars to move to the NT for work as part of the NT Government’s new population strategy.
PSA, the peak national body for pharmacists, played a major role in gaining this recognition for community pharmacists’ vital role in providing high-quality health outcomes across the NT.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said PSA had engaged with local community pharmacists and health organisations to highlight the industry’s need for support.
“People in the NT face significant challenges when it comes to accessing healthcare and medicines, especially with such a geographically dispersed population,” Dr Jackson said.
“As the medicines experts, community pharmacists play an invaluable role in helping their local communities overcome these issues by providing trusted and readily accessible healthcare. However, rural and regional pharmacies in particular need more support to attract and retain qualified staff.
“Having advocated for greater recognition and remuneration of pharmacists in the NT, PSA welcomes the NT Government’s commitment to strengthening our community pharmacy network.”
PSA SA/NT Branch Committee Member Sam Keitaanpaa said, “This is a fantastic achievement for PSA SA/NT, the NT Government and those who advocated for recognition that many of our community pharmacies rely on locum staff or are consistently understaffed, especially outside Darwin.
“Working in the NT can be challenging but offers the chance to be at the forefront of our profession’s shift towards non-traditional roles and maximising our scope of practice.
There are massive opportunities to work closely with Aboriginal Health Services, design and trial health promotions and interventions and engage with underrepresented and vulnerable groups.
“I have already had people enquire about working up here and I hope this incentive will attract more enthusiastic pharmacists who want to be part of the close-knit profession making big differences in the community.”
High priority occupations moving to the NT will receive up to $3,000 for individuals, $6,000 for couples and $7,000 for families to help with moving and living costs.
They will be eligible for further payments if they stay in the NT for five years.
Registrations for the incentive open 1 November 2018 and are also open to overseas migrants.
4. PSA supports potential Real Time Monitoring in NSW
August 20, 2018
PSA welcomes the NSW Labor Party’s announcement on Sunday of their policy and plan to implement Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) in NSW if elected in 2019.
The announcement came after a NSW Coroner’s report released last month recommended that urgent consideration be given to raising the priority for the introduction of a RTPM system in NSW. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has since commissioned research on the need and potential benefits and risks of RTPM in NSW.
RTPM will allow pharmacists and prescribers to access accurate data to make informed clinical decisions to best support patients impacted by prescription medicine misuse.
PSA NSW President Professor Peter Carroll, who participated at the Labor Party’s announcement, said, “The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia fully supports the announcement by NSW Labor that if elected to Government they will introduce a Real Time Prescription Monitoring System into NSW.
“Deaths from prescription opioids continue to rise, and PSA has been advocating with the NSW Government to introduce a Real Time Prescription Monitoring System to prevent these deaths, along with a number of coroners’ reports indicating that such a system is needed,” Prof Carroll said.
“Unfortunately the current NSW Government has not introduced such a system. In fact, the NSW Chief Pharmacist has stated that a Real Time Prescription Monitoring System is ‘years away’.
“This is a completely unacceptable situation as without a Real Time Prescription Monitoring System for drugs of misuse such as opioids, deaths will continue to occur, which could have been prevented.”