EDITORIAL For Monday 2 May, 2016

Welcome to our new edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine dated Monday 2 May 2016.
I have noted with dismay that a recent AJP poll of 1300 pharmacists indicated that 61 percent of them were contemplating leaving the profession.
One reassuring aspect of this is that this 61% of obviously depressed pharmacists represents about 2.7 percent of the total of all Australian registered pharmacists.
That is a more manageable figure.

But may I encourage those pharmacists who are contemplating a sea change to ask themselves why they are considering this radical decision and what would be the factors that would retain them in the workforce?

While most of us can guess what the list might look like, at best it can only be a guess until you qualify your reasons.
At that point it becomes hard evidence and can be rationalised back to a flawed policy decision by someone or some organisation.
So i2P would be happy to know why, and analyse what corrections could be engineered.

One reason I am certain of is the suppression of creativity within the profession from the “top down” influences that dictate a negative direction rather than encourage a more imaginative and positive direction from the “bottom up”.

Without creativity there is no imagination.
As a result, innovation is also suppressed, which leaves you vulnerable to disruption by competitors, both commercial and professional.
It is a reflection on leadership of our organisations that they seem unable to collaborate openly, leaving the profession without a stable direction.

We are in a fight for our professional existence from global retailers, economic rationalists that write barren policy papers for governments, other health professionals who see health only in terms of dollars – so these competitors are keen to eradicate all competitors like homeopaths, chiropractors and community pharmacies so that more dollars are available for them to continue practicing a pharma-based and high-priced health service that is illness management at its worst.
And they will use robotics and systems based on artificial intelligence to drive that process.
While we cannot stem the tide of new technologies that will disrupt us, we can at least plan for new forms of work that has value and utility.
This requires a constant stream of research that can underpin innovation that is pharmacy driven.
And one part of pharmacy must help the other to survive, because if we begin to lose human capital we will be bankrupted by our competitors.

Agile workplaces , agile education and knowledge transfers will become the solutions, facilitated by a range of intelligent mentors.

Simply finding answers by challenging problems is a simple statement.
To do so requires a modified infrastructure and new forms of management.
Remember, if you can’t measure it, you cannot manage it.
That is a fundamental underpinning.

Productivity is dependent on innovation.
Whether at an individual business level, an industry level or at a state or national level, innovation affects outputs, efficiency and sustainability.
And it seems also to have an impact on wellbeing – happiness and income levels as defined by dominant research studies.
It is therefore, inherently desirable, and I am almost certain that this is the underpinning motive for pharmacists leaving their profession – a lack of innovation.
Although the reality is sometimes that what passes as innovation in some organisations is not adding to productivity.
Often what is being described as innovation is merely a promotional or marketing exercise.
This might have some short term impact on sales, but it will not bring about change. And one of the defining factors of innovation is change – to business processes, to product development, to market customization, and to customer and stakeholder experiences of brands.

One qualifier – the innovation process needs to be treated with respect and requires a genuine investment of human and financial capital.
If there is not a commitment to the process then you might as well leave, because you have set yourself up to fail.

This week was a somewhat sad one for me as one of my colleagues had passed on.
His name was Rollo Manning and he was the first ever writer recruited for i2P.
Rollo was intelligent, a strong debater and came with a vast background knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and profession.

Rollo’s daughter, Suzanne, posted details on his Facebook page because she simply did not know the full extent of his contacts.
We have reproduced her notice so that any i2P readers can add to the list of tributes that are still being added to Facebook.
Rollo suffered a stroke in November 2015 and passed away in February 2016.
His funeral occurred in April 2016.

“It has come to my attention that Dad had two FB accounts – Rollo Manning and Rollo Manning – so I am posting this for a second time, apologies for any confusion or duplication.

Very sad news. Our beautiful dad, Rollo Manning, passed away on 19 February. After suffering a stroke in November, the last few months have been very difficult.
May his warm and generous soul now be at peace.
Dad lived his life with more passion, positivity and resilience than anyone I know. He was a great man and a great father.
I apologise if FB seems an insensitive way to share this news – those of you who knew Dad will know he embraced technology as if he were from Gen Y and I do not have contact details for many of his friends.
May his spirit live on in the lives of those he has touched. RIP Dadda. Xxxx”

Rollo at sunset
Rollo at sunset

As a tribute to Rollo, i2P has published his very first article written sixteen years ago in March 2000.

You might like to use this article as a checklist against what the current Review Committee is discussing in respect of pharmacy’s location rules and ownership rules.
You will find that not a lot has happened over sixteen years.

We also have some concerns about the slow introduction of medical marijuana into the Australian health landscape.
It is very slow>
Read: Medical Cannabis – a Product That Clinical Pharmacists Could Match to Chronic Illness

We also have an article regarding Boots UK management decisions in respect of their pharmacists.
Given that Boots is likely to be a very early contender knocking on Australia’s doorstep, it was thought interesting to see whether their management style would be acceptable to Australian pharmacists.
Not likely, it seems.
Read: Boots Accused of Profiteering Over Professionalism

Gerald Quigley is back and reports on a symposium he attended, which was sponsored by Bioceuticals Laboratories.
As he points out, high quality evidence is available for some forms of alternate or complementary medicines that is of good value for clinical pharmacists.

Read: The Latest Research on Holistic Health – Are you up to it?

The debate continues on about the fraudulent vaccine industry, but it appears that public opinion may now be changing.
Read: The Tide is Turning Against Medical Skeptics, Fraudulent Science and Corrupt Politicians

Dr Andrew Byrne, our specialist in addiction therapies is back after a quick overseas trip to examine current trends in the US.

Read: Medical postcard from New York, April 2016

Harvey Mackay is back with some sound management advice which basically says “hasten slowly”.
Read: Slow and steady wins the day

And we complete our offering for this edition with some media releases from media organisations.

PSA Media Releases – 1. Pharmacists in GP Clinics in UK 2. Real Time Prescription Monitoring in Vic.

NPS Media Releases – 1. Individual Antibiotic Action Needed 2. Excellence in Media Reporting

Enjoy your read for this edition.

Neil Johnston
i2P E-Magazine
Monday 2 May, 2016

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