1. PSA calls for support to allow pharmacists to do more for public health
November 8, 2018
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) calls on Victoria’s political parties to improve Victorians’ access to healthcare by allowing pharmacists to do more, including through Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) services.
PSA Victorian President Benjamin Marchant said pharmacists were the most frequently contacted health professionals in Victoria, yet their skills were not being put to full use.
“The upcoming Victorian state election is the ideal time to commit to new reforms for a healthier Victoria, and PSA urges Victorian political parties to take full advantage of the highly trained pharmacist workforce by committing to provide $2.2 million in seed funding for a pilot of the shared care model for MATOD services in Victoria.”
MATOD services consist of two key components to fight licit and illicit drug abuse and misuse – prescribing doctors or nurse practitioners, and pharmacists who dispense the medications and monitor treatment progress on a daily basis.
Mr Marchant said there was overwhelming evidence that illicit drugs and misuse of pharmaceutical medicines were a major community concern, creating a significant burden on the Victorian health system, law enforcement and community welfare.
“The referral pathway to support and manage addiction is at breaking point and MATOD services are under enormous pressure,” he said. “There is a severe shortage of MATOD prescribers despite the Victorian government’s repeated efforts over many years to recruit doctors and nurse practitioners.
“With the implementation of Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system, SafeScript, over the next 18 months, the demand for MATOD services is likely to increase significantly, putting additional pressure on the already strained prescriber pool.”
After consulting with a broad range of stakeholders, PSA has determined there is scope for pharmacists to support a more sustainable collaborative model that provides consumers with wider options, reduces pressure on prescribers and ensures a more holistic approach to patients’ wellbeing.
Mr Marchant said, “There is strong evidence that government funding for MATOD would enhance compliance, minimise stigma and encourage more pharmacists to offer this much-needed service. This funding has received universal support from the Victorian Alcohol and Other Drugs sector and is one of the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry on Drug Law Reform.”
To support this service, PSA calls on Victorian political parties to fully fund MATOD dispensing and management fees for patients.
PSA also urges political parties to allow the public to be able to receive the full range of National Immunisation Program vaccines from pharmacists.
“Victorian pharmacists have provided vaccinations since 2016 and the public has given excellent feedback on the safety and convenience of this service,” Mr Marchant said. “More Victorians than ever have been immunised, including many people for the first time.”
International and local research has shown pharmacists can boost vaccination rates, and independent research commissioned by PSA has revealed almost two-in-three Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer a broader range of vaccinations.
Mr Marchant said, “The restricted range of pharmacist vaccination is needlessly forcing people to visit multiple providers to get fully immunised under the National Immunisation Program, creating unnecessary barriers that compromise the population’s overall immunity.
“Victorians clearly value the work pharmacists are doing and believe they can do more. Now is the time to remove these constraints to give the public better access to the health services they need.”
PSA is also calling for the appointment of a Chief Pharmacist in Victoria to make better use of pharmacist resources.
“The Chief Pharmacist would provide a crucial link between regulation, programs, funding and infrastructure. This much-needed position would foster collaboration between pharmacy and other health professions, and provide advice to the government to advance policy development, planning and health reform,” Mr Marchant said.
“Pharmacists are a critical part of the Victorian health system, helping to implement major reforms such as real-time prescription monitoring, Supercare 24-hour pharmacies, chronic diseases management and drug law reform.
“The above measures are urgently needed to improve health outcomes for Victorians and ease the burden on the overloaded health system.”
2. Victorian pharmacists recognised
November 23, 2018
Robyn Saunders, a pharmacist who has worked tirelessly in aged care and mentored hundreds of young pharmacists, won the Victorian Pharmacist Medal at the 2018 Victorian Pharmacists’ Dinner.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Victorian President Benjamin Marchant presented Ms Saunders with the medal during the ceremony at Cossar Hall last week.
Ms Saunders spent 15 years of her early career in hospital pharmacy and single-handedly established the drug information centre at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.
She later moved across to the private hospital sector and implemented ward pharmacy services at Epworth Hospital.
In 2002, she partnered with fellow pharmacist Jenny Gowan to establish MediCom Medication Services, providing clinical services to residential care facilities and partners in medication education.
She also teamed up with software developers to create QUMulus, a cloud-based tool for consultant pharmacists providing medication guides, clinical auditing tools and drug information.
As a practitioner researcher, she has been involved in pharmacy practice research projects in Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) and medication management.
In presenting the medal, Mr Marchant said, “Robyn is a strong advocate for evidence-based practice and has personally mentored hundreds of pharmacists.
“She has provided countless education sessions through PSA and other professional organisations and government agencies, supporting them via best practice for the sole purpose of better health outcomes through quality use of medicine. She is no doubt a role model for us all.”
Also recognised at the dinner were pharmacists Angela Lawrence, Dimitra Tsucalas and Christine Bellamy for their significant contributions in rural hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy and primary healthcare network respectively. PSA past Victorian President David Newgreen received his Lifetime Service Award to celebrate his recent retirement from the Victorian Pharmacy Authority.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson also joined Mr Marchant in recognising PSA Life Members Ann Howe, Tom Shen, Warren Ritchie, Russell McPhee, Joe Sztar and David Meller, as well as Student of the Year Rhiannon Froude from Monash University and RMIT Gold Medalist Sarah Hassan.
PSA is grateful for the ongoing support of this annual celebration by PDL, North West Melbourne PHN, Robert James Lawyers and Monash University.
Image 1 caption (L to R): Janelle Devereus (NWMPHN), John Guy (PDL), Robyn Saunders, The Hon Mary Wooldridge (Shadow Health Minister) and Ben Marchant (PSA Victorian President)
Image 2 caption: PSA Victorian State Manager Bill Suen with Robyn Saunders
3. PSA welcomes new SHPA leaders
November 26, 2018
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) commends outgoing President of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) Professor Michael Dooley for his inspiring leadership and welcomes the new leadership team.
Prof Dooley announced he was stepping down as President at the Medicines Management 2018 (MM2018) conference in Brisbane yesterday, with Peter Fowler named as incoming President.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson congratulated Prof Dooley on his four years of leadership, during which there has been strong investment in the hospital pharmacy sector.
“Michael is a passionate leader who has inspired countless hospital pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy assistants to build their professional skills and give patients the best possible care.
“He leaves a proud legacy of a growing and engaged hospital pharmacy sector with a focus on the future.
“Peter has extensive experience in the public hospital sector in Tasmania and I congratulate him on his new role.”
Dr Jacinta Johnson was announced as SHPA Vice President and David Brennan as Treasurer.
“Dr Johnson was named this year’s PSA Early Career Pharmacist of the Year for her outstanding leadership amongst Early Career Pharmacists, which I’m sure will serve her well in her new role.
“I look forward to working with Peter, Jacinta and David in 2019 to continue developing new opportunities for pharmacists to be appropriately recognised and remunerated for their expertise.”
4. PSA welcomes new Victorian Government
November 26, 2018
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), in congratulating the return of the Andrews Government, is asking them to consider improving Victorians’ access to healthcare by better utilising pharmacists across the state.
PSA Victorian President Benjamin Marchant said pharmacists were often Victorians’ first port of call for healthcare, but their skills were not being put to full use.
“PSA welcomes the election of the Labor Party and urges them to take full advantage of the pharmacist workforce by providing seed funding for a pilot of the shared care model, and removal of patient pharmacy copayment for Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) services in Victoria.”
MATOD services combat licit and illicit drug abuse and misuse with two key components: prescribing doctors or nurse practitioners, and pharmacists who dispense the medications and monitor treatment progress on a daily basis.
Mr Marchant said drug abuse was putting existing MATOD services under immense pressure and causing great concern in the community.
“We don’t have enough MATOD prescribers to meet the increasing demand. That’s why PSA is calling for a more sustainable model that provides patients with more options and more holistic care.”
PSA also hopes the Government will remove a key barrier for accessing MATOD services by fully funding MATOD dispensing and management fees for patients.
“Evidence shows funding for MATOD would enhance compliance, minimise stigma and encourage more pharmacists to offer the service.”
Mr Marchant said PSA is urging the Government to allow the public to access the full range of National Immunisation Program vaccines through pharmacists.
Independent research commissioned by PSA has shown almost two-in-three Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer a broader range of vaccinations.
“Pharmacists can give the public better access to vaccinations, increasing the population’s overall immunity.”
PSA also believes it is essential for the Government to appoint a Chief Pharmacist in Victoria to make better use of pharmacist resources and provide a crucial link between regulation, programs, funding and infrastructure.
“Pharmacists are a critical part of the Victorian health system and now is the time to commit to new reforms to help them support a healthier Victoria,” Mr Marchant said.
5. PSA awarded continued funding as national peak body for pharmacists
November 27, 2018
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has welcomed today’s Federal Government recognition of the work PSA does for all pharmacists in Australia by continuing PSA’s national peak health body funding.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said the organisation was pleased that the Federal Government had provided funding over three years for PSA, confirming the role PSA plays as a peak health advisory body representing all of Australia’s 31,000 pharmacists.
“We are exceptionally proud to represent pharmacists in all locations and sectors, including community, hospital and academia,” he said.
“We sincerely thank the Federal Government, as part of the Health Peak and Advisory Bodies Programme, for its strong support of PSA and our work in continuing to improve Australia’s health through its leadership of the pharmacy profession.
“PSA believes the expertise of pharmacists can be better utilised to address the healthcare needs of all Australians.
“There is no doubt that we can improve healthcare by optimising the role of pharmacists as healthcare professionals and as leaders in Quality Use of Medicines.”
Dr Jackson said PSA, the largest pharmacist member organisation in Australia, had a strong and engaged membership base, who are medicines experts and provide high-quality healthcare for all Australians.
PSA leads and supports innovative and evidence-based healthcare service delivery by pharmacists and works to unlock opportunities for pharmacists to practise to their full potential.
PSA provides high-quality practitioner development and practice support to pharmacists and is the custodian of the professional practice standards, guidelines and code of ethics to ensure quality and integrity in the practice of pharmacy.
6. PSA welcomes new Victorian Health Minister
November 29, 2018
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the appointment of Jenny Mikakos as Minister for Health in the returned Andrews Labor Government.
PSA also welcomes the return of Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley and urges the ministers to consider improving access to healthcare in Victoria by taking full advantage of the flexible and highly trained pharmacist workforce.
PSA Victorian President Benjamin Marchant said, “We congratulate Minister Mikakos on her appointment and look forward to working with her to adopt innovative models of care that make better use of pharmacists’ skills and expertise.
“We will engage with Minister Foley on providing seed funding for a pilot of the shared care model for Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) services in Victoria.
“Licit and illicit drug abuse and misuse are a huge concern in the community and existing MATOD services are struggling to meet demand, so we are calling for a more sustainable model.”
Mr Marchant said PSA hopes Minister Foley will consider removing a key barrier to MATOD services by fully funding dispensing and management fees for patients.
PSA also urges the Government to allow Victorians to access the full range of National Immunisation Program vaccines through pharmacists.
“Pharmacists are the most frequently contacted health professionals in Victoria and have been providing vaccinations since 2016, so there are abundant opportunities for them to do more.”
PSA also believes it is essential for the Government to appoint a Chief Pharmacist in Victoria to advise the Government and provide coordination within the Department of Health and Human Services and with other stakeholders.
“We thank the outgoing Minister for Health Jill Hennessy for her outstanding contributions to pharmacy and the health system in Victoria,” Mr Marchant said.
7.Pharmacy organisations join forces to promote Australian research
December 3, 2018
A strategic partnership to promote pharmaceutical science research in the pharmacy community and implement it into pharmacy practice was announced this weekend between the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association (APSA).
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson announced the partnership at the APSA 2018 Conference in Adelaide.
PSA is Australia’s largest pharmacist membership organisation representing 31,000 pharmacists in all sectors and locations; representing academic pharmacy, APSA is a professional society for individuals with an interest in pharmaceutical science and pharmacy practice.
Both organisations intend to work together on their annual conferences from 2018 to 2021.
They will collaborate on a research stream for PSA’s flagship conference PSA19, held at the Hyatt Regency Sydney on July 26-28 2019.
PSA will also support workshops at APSA’s annual conferences from 2018 to 2021.
“We are delighted to enter this partnership with APSA to increase recognition amongst pharmacists of groundbreaking research in the pharmaceutical sciences as well as connecting pharmacy practice researchers to the wider profession,” Dr Jackson said.
“Translating this research into everyday pharmacy practice will lead to better health outcomes in the community.
“We look forward to working with APSA on these exciting additions to our events in the years ahead.”
“APSA is very excited by this partnership with PSA. The synergy of APSA’s established strengths in research and education, together with the professional application through PSA provides an excellent forum to foster collaboration and ultimately strengthen the future of pharmacy within Australia,” said Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange, APSA President.
PSA and APSA, in collaboration with the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA), also won a consortium bid in September to host the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) 81st Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brisbane in 2021.
This major international event will bring together pharmacy and pharmaceutical science leaders from across the globe and highlight innovative healthcare models on the world stage.