EDITORIAL for Monday 6 July 2015

Welcome to i2P (Information to Pharmacists) E-Magazine for Monday, 6 July 2015.
The “penny” is finally starting to “drop” in that the need for a long-term plan for all of pharmacy has finally taken root.
And why has this taken so long?

You may well ask this question, and the answer is that all pharmacy/pharmacist national organisations have evolved, over time, to become more competitive with each other, rather than cooperate on the “big issues”.

That is until the year 2008 when it was decided that there should exist one organisation that represented all of pharmacy, at least philosophically. It has the potential to be the culture centre and culture generator for all of pharmacy.
That organisation was the Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF), but it really wasn’t given “legs” to walk with until Grant Kadarchi (national PSA president) was asked to stand as chairman for the APLF.

This was seen as a conciliatory move and indeed, a more unified APLF emerged.
We wrote about APLF in a recent article titled titled “The APLF – a very quiet organisation” which gave some insights into the history, aims and objectives of this organisation.

The organisation has just concluded the first Summit for the Australian pharmacist Workforce, and in a communiqué released afterwards stated, in part:

“The capability and capacity of the workforce underpins the professions’ future. A competent and sustainable pharmacist workforce is necessary to address the increasing pharmaceutical requirements of the population and to enable continued expansion of pharmacists’ scope of practice.”

A simple enough statement, but it has underscored years of frustration, disengagement, even bitterness that has kept the whole of pharmacy as a “divided nation”.

So the APLF has finally emerged as an embryonic “think tank” and “halleluiah!” says i2P.
What needs to happen from this point on includes a growing independence of APLF to demonstrate its authority.
In particular, it needs a website for the storage of knowledge and the widespread distribution of “white papers” (or their equivalent) so that the entire pharmacist family can share the reasoning behind the decision-making plus an ongoing process to accumulate new knowledge around formalised topics from all sources.

Eventually, one would hope that it will create rules around APLF membership and ensure that each of the members’ members is truly representative, and not just a “false front”.
In this respect we continually point to the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) which purports to represent clinical service pharmacists but only has two voting shareholders – PSA and PGA.
Pressure must be brought to bear on this organisation to create fairness and true representation. The clinical pharmacists must be given a vote.
Perhaps this decision may flow on from the recent Workforce Summit.
And while we are on the subject, membership of APLF should always be open to outstanding critical thinkers – singular individuals who have consistently demonstrated the ability to think. There must always be room for talent of that type to make a contribution towards future pharmacy – and they do not need to be pharmacists.

This organisation must be given the space to move and the resources to work with.
In the latter respect we have pointed to APLF being the only organisation truly representing all of pharmacy and best suited to manage all grants coming into pharmacy from government sources.
Accordingly, the management fee would pay for the costs of the organisation and the grant oversight would ensure that grants were fairly distributed and balanced for future pharmacy need.

This week we also highlight the National Press Club speech by the Council of Small Business of Australia.
Read COSBA Support for Pharmacists Owning Pharmacies where it seems pharmacy may have an ally in its fight to retain ownership of its own business structures.

Gerald Quigley is back and writes on the growing pattern of health professional organisations to openly and destructively criticise one another, which under most Codes of Conduct would be deemed unprofessional, at least to the “reprimand ” level.
Read Professional images? and see whether you agree with him in his conclusion that this type of behaviour is unprofessional, and should be muted.

Barry Urquhart is also back with his knowledge-rich column “Marketing Focus”.
He has four concise articles to share, all of which can be adapted for pharmacy circumstances.
His comments for “Aldi Under Attack” I found particularly interesting, because it demonstrated how easily one organisation’s perceived weaknesses were in fact “strengths” for their targeted market, and were appreciated by the target market, which generated support for Aldi unseen by its competitors (or in the case of pharmacy, by government).
As i2P has continually remarked, Aldi has produced a model that could be adapted (in part) by Australian pharmacists because pharmacy competitors are sometimes viewed irrationally, particularly when those competitors are seen as supermarkets.

The APLF has released a communique’ relating to its recent Workforce Summit (noted above) that we share with you. Read APLF Communique’ – Path for a sustainable future defined at Pharmacist Workforce Summit and it is suggested to all i2P readers that you follow the work of this organisation on a progressive basis.

i2P staff writers have been busy this week and have come up with a topical subject. Read “Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025, Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT”
While vaccines have been blamed as a cause of autism in certain instances, they are not the only cause (and don’t tell me that science conclusively disproves this notion because it doesn’t).
Our staff writers have been researching environmental toxins and will be releasing material relating to health issues that ought to be causing a major concern with health authorities.
That they are not covered by government press releases or through mainstream media stories seems due to successful “disinformation” strategies by giant agribusiness organisations.
More will obviously flow from i2P in future issues.

Harvey Mackay has a knack for identifying issues concerning attitudes and values.
In this edition he has written an article titled “More Father’s Day advice – from readers” where he identifies qualities, attitudes and values for good fathers.
It is an interesting viewpoint because fathers are often criticised for not performing at a top level.
So I sent this to my own son for marking up or down for my own performance level.
I think I passed muster but I am sure all will be revealed in due course.

Mark Neuenschwander is a pharmacy thought leader – yet he is not a pharmacist.
More than any other person in the entire global health community, Mark has dedicated his professional life to patient safety issues through the use of bar codes.
His current article “I’ve been thinking about how the work we do today may impact the world we live in tomorrow” indicates exactly the type of thinking that should be in play through the new “pharmacy think tank” APLF, and its membership.
Mark is passionate about his bar code ministry and it would be nice to see what could emerge from a group of Australian similar thinkers.

News Roundup contains a small number of news items relevant for Australian pharmacists but not subjected to any analysis or criticism from i2P. Read for yourself and provide your own analysis.

While we have no ASMI or NPS media releases for this week, we do have multiple releases from PSA.
Please read new PSA president Joe Demarte’s comments, and his view of the APLF Work Summit forum.

Enjoy your read for this week.

Neil Johnston,
Monday 6 July 2015.

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