1. Pharmacists poised to exert expertise in era of new health challenges
25 September 2018
Today marks World Pharmacists Day, an important moment to pause and reflect on the storied history and bright future of one of the pillars of Australian healthcare, and the passionate and innovative people driving the profession forward.
SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says this year’s #WorldPharmacistsDay theme – ‘Pharmacists are your medicines experts’ – is a reminder of the core value of pharmacists’ essential, accessible expertise.
‘On World Pharmacists’ Day we celebrate the vital role medicines experts play across all care settings, from multidisciplinary medical teams in large hospitals to remote outreach and international aid. ‘Importantly, we also recognise many of these roles are new and emerging, reflecting the growing importance of pharmacists, technicians and assistants in helping keep Australians healthier as they live longer with more complex medical needs.’
Ms Michaels says demographic change, record high usage of antibiotics and growing understanding of mental health are just some of the healthcare challenges demanding a future workforce that includes more advanced practice pharmacists.
‘As pharmacy advances it is crucial to recognise those performing at a significantly advanced scope and we are pleased to support so many members who have embarked on the Advancing Practice journey.
‘At the same time, we have dynamic innovators leading from the front, and SHPA is proud to foster the growth and impact of many change-makers in Australian pharmacy through our structured programs and supportive community.’
Today’s celebration coincides with the early-view release of a new call to increase Australian pharmacy’s role in confronting one of the most significant health challenges of our time: rising antimicrobial resistance.
To be featured in the October issue of SHPA’s flagship publication the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR), the research notes ‘Australia is already implementing strategies to mitigate the risk of antimicrobial resistance but [it is] acknowledged that newer antibiotics are not the only solution and that more needs to be done in the primary health sector.
‘The pharmacy profession is positioned to help meet these needs by expanding roles and activities already undertaken by pharmacies and augmenting them to help meet national and international strategies around tackling antimicrobial resistance’ say the authors from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Ms Michaels says the research is a timely highlighting of the strong position of Australia’s pharmacy workforce as an underutilised pillar of hospital-centred acute care.
‘When supported through evidence-based policy and the capacity to conduct and implement researchdriven initiatives, hospital pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy assistants can ensure medicines expertise is always in focus throughout every patient journey – today and every day.’
2. New medicines shortages law a big win for members and public
11 September 2018
A nationwide system for managing medicines supply will come into effect on 1 January 2019 after legislation requiring mandatory reporting of medicines shortages by pharmaceutical companies passed the Australian Senate last night.
SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says once in law, the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Bill 2018, introduced by Health Minister Greg Hunt, will improve patient outcomes by providing a nationwide system for managing and communicating medicines shortages through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
‘Introduction of the new protocol is a big win for our members and will make a huge impact on the effectiveness of hospital pharmacists in Australia, liberating their time to spend on crucial face-to-face cognitive pharmacy services on the ward, maximising their input into multidisciplinary medical teams.’
As the membership and advocacy organisation for pharmacists working in hospitals, SHPA provides expert advice to federal and state governments regarding medicines and high-quality patient care.
‘Most recently SHPA has worked in partnership with key healthcare stakeholders to advise the Federal Government on the development of Special Pricing Arrangements and the introduction of this legislation addressing medicine shortages,’ says Ms Michaels.
Hospital pharmacies and their staff not only provide care for the most seriously ill Australians but are an important component of the government’s investment in medicines as 22% of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure occurs in Australia’s public and private hospital system, despite being outside the scope of previous Community Pharmacy Agreements.
‘Through important evidence gathered from our members we have been able to inform the development and debate around this legislation and eagerly await the positive affects this will have on patients and hospitals alike.’
Under the new law, a critical medicine is deemed to be in shortage if there is not enough, or likely will not be enough, for all patients in Australia who take it or may need to take it, at any time in the next six months.
3. Pharmacy World Congress Brisbane-bound in 2021
1 September 2018
Brisbane has been announced as the host of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2021.
The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA), Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association (APSA) and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) formed a Local Host Consortium and successfully bid to host the major international event at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Formally announced on the cusp of the 78th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which begins tomorrow in Glasgow, UK, the FIP Congress 2021 will provide a platform to drive innovative models of pharmacists’ practice to full scope.
SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says the landmark event will showcase Australia’s enthusiasm and capability to deliver an outstanding and memorable international professional meeting.
‘The congress continues a long tradition of Australian pharmacists participating in the international scientific community – including representation on the FIP Bureau, Board of Pharmaceutical Practice Sections, Board of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Committees.’
Combined, the host organisations represent over 20,000 members across Australia in hospital and community pharmacy, academia and the pharmaceutical sciences.
The Consortium’s bid was strongly supported by the two New Zealand FIP member organisations – the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and the New Zealand Hospital Pharmacists Association (NHPA) – as well as the FIP Western Pacific Pharmaceutical Forum, which will help spread the message to the Asia Pacific region.