PSA Media Releases – 1. Patient focused clinical overview of pain module released 2. New partnership supports My Health Record rollout in community pharmacies 3. CEO resigns from peak national body for pharmacists 4. Helping pharmacy assistants support patients to manage pain

1. Patient focused clinical overview of pain module released
3 November 2017


The second online module of an education package to support the pharmacy profession through the upcoming codeine scheduling changes has been released by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

Pain represents a significant economic and health burden for Australians, with 20 per cent of Australians suffering chronic pain but less than 10 per cent of people with chronic non-cancer pain having access to effective care.1

The lack of effective treatment leads many people suffering from chronic pain to also experience social and mental health issues as a result of their pain.

Some 33 per cent of Australian adults with severe or very severe pain also report high or very high levels of psychological distress.1

However, the change in scheduling of combination medicines containing codeine from 1 February 2018 represents a significant change in pain management strategies used by many patients.

With the change in scheduling, it is important that pharmacists are well informed on the clinical aspects of pain management in order to address their patients’ needs.

As part of the education package to support the profession through these changes, the Guild and PSA have developed an online module titled Codeine rescheduling: A patient focused clinical overview of pain.

The new module provides an overview of the pathophysiology of pain, the different ways in which it can be experienced, and the role of the pharmacist in managing pain.

This activity has been accredited for 1.5 hours of Group 1 CPD (or 1.5 CPD credits), suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan, which can be converted to 1.5 hours of Group 2 CPD (or 3 CPD credits) upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities.

To enrol in this course please visit or

For more information, contact either PSA on 1300 369 772 or email or the Guild on (03) 9810 9930 or email

1. Painful facts [Internet]. Pain Australia. 2017 [cited 2017 Jul 25]. Available from:


2. New partnership supports My Health Record rollout in community pharmacies
November 9, 2017


The Australian Government is committed to a digital transformation of the health sector that will empower healthcare providers and improve health outcomes for consumers.

Today, Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced a partnership with the peak national body representing pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). The partnership will help increase the number of pharmacists using My Health Record, a digital system that enables healthcare providers to share secure health data and improve the safety and quality of patient care.

“The PSA represents 30,000 pharmacists working in all areas of pharmacy across the country and is ideally placed to develop and deliver education, training, information, and communications for the pharmacy profession.

“This partnership will help PSA to increase the number of pharmacists working in all practice settings registered, able to view, and automatically upload medicines information to My Health Record.

“PSA will also review, update, and develop professional guidelines for pharmacy practice, and implementation tools for digital health,” Minister Hunt said.

The Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey said that 5.2 million Australians already have a My Health Record and 12.8 million prescription and dispense records have been uploaded to the system.

“Access to current, timely, and accurate My Health Record enhances clinical decision making and consumer care, particularly when consumers are cared for by multiple healthcare providers and visit multiple healthcare organisations.

“My Health Record also provides pharmacists access to clinically relevant information from other healthcare providers including hospital discharge summaries, GP shared health summaries, and consumer-entered information about over-the-counter medications and other supplements,” Mr Kelsey said.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson welcomed the new partnership saying there was significant potential for pharmacists to use digital health records as a tool to communicate with other health professionals, particularly during transitions of care.

“My Health Record will provide access to verifiable clinical information such as a shared health summary, which is really useful when you’re sitting down with a patient for a MedsCheck or Home Medication Review. The benefit to patients is safer and more effective care.

“Pharmacists will be able to understand what’s happened to the patient in hospital, what changes may have been made, and what they need to do to follow up. My Health Record really shines a light on a patient’s health status so you can tailor their care,” Dr Jackson said.


3. CEO resigns from peak national body for pharmacists
November 9, 2017

Dr Lance Emerson has resigned as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the peak national organisation for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

After three and a half years as CEO, Dr Emerson – a highly respected healthcare leader in Australia – will leave the organisation in January next year having achieved many positive outcomes, structural reforms, improved member services and helping to boost the public profile of pharmacists and PSA.

PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson applauded Dr Emerson’s outstanding achievements, saying he had shown strong leadership of the organisation.

“I congratulate and thank Dr Emerson for his effective and strategic leadership of PSA to ensure all pharmacists are well represented and engaged across Australia,” Dr Jackson said.

“His dedication and service to the profession – and engagement with key stakeholders – has been admirable and I’m sure our members would agree he has taken PSA to the next level in terms of advocacy, professional development and practice support.”

Dr Emerson’s many achievements have included transforming PSA from functioning as six separate organisations across Australia to one unified entity for advocacy, training and membership and securing recognition as the peak pharmacists’ organisation via peak Health Professional Association funding from the Federal Government.

“Dr Emerson has also been instrumental in increasing the public recognition of the role of pharmacists and PSA through a strong, proactive mainstream media and communications strategy,” Dr Jackson said.

“Dr Emerson has also championed key reforms and sector dialogue on issues including pharmacist wages, Early Career Pharmacists, new career pathways, innovative/evidence-based pharmacist services, community pharmacy reforms, women in pharmacy and equality.”

Dr Emerson said he was incredibly proud to have led PSA to become such a prominent peak national body in Australia.

“In serving as CEO, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of developing a stronger, more sustainable PSA, providing enhanced member services and aligning all our effort across Australia working closely with three national presidents over this time.

“I sincerely thank PSA’s National Board, Branch Committees, Executive team and the dedicated and competent PSA staff – as well as all PSA members and supporters.”

A recruitment process for Dr Emerson’s replacement is underway.


4. Helping pharmacy assistants support patients to manage pain
November 10, 2017


One in five Australians live with ongoing pain but less than 10% of people experiencing ongoing pain have access to care 1, according to the latest research. The change in scheduling of pain medicines, and medicines for cold and flu on 1 February 2018, represents a significant change in pain management strategies used by many patients.

Community pharmacies need to plan for and manage this change, and pharmacy assistants are an important part of implementing the protocols and practices developed to assist patients with their pain management needs. It is crucial that pharmacy assistants understand their role in pain within the community pharmacy and when to refer patients to the pharmacist.

The Guild and PSA have developed a series of five modules to assist pharmacy assistants understand the change to scheduling of these medicines and adapt to the new scheduling requirements.

The two organisations have collaborated to develop the package of materials – designed to support pharmacists and pharmacy assistants to support patients – which reflect a whole-of-pharmacy approach to ensure the entire pharmacy sector is prepared for the change.

Both organisations are committed to ensuring that rigorous, safe and patient-focused solutions are in place to enable this change, which will affect an estimated one million patients in 2018.

The second of these modules, “Scheduling changes: An overview of pain for pharmacy assistants”, will help pharmacy assistants to understand pain, recognise the medicines used to treat pain and when they are or are not appropriate, and recognise when patients will require referral to the pharmacist.

This activity has been approved for 45 minutes of QCPP Refresher Training and will contribute to the annual requirement of three hours of QCPP Refresher Training for pharmacy assistants.

To enrol in this course please visit or

For more information, contact either PSA on 1300 369 772 or email or the Guild on (03) 9810 9930 or email

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