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Pharmacists to administer RSV vaccines in NSW

1 March 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) encourages New South Wales residents over the age of 60 years to book an RSV vaccine appointment with their local pharmacist, following the NSW Government today becoming the first state to allow pharmacists to initiate and administer RSV vaccines. 

 

The updated NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards follows yesterday’s statement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, recommending people over the age of 75 years receive RSV vaccination as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 60 years and those aged over 60 with medical conditions that increase the risk of severe disease due to RSV. All other people over the age of 60 years are also eligible for RSV vaccination. 

 

PSA NSW President Luke Kelly welcomed the move, saying it was important people protected themselves against infectious diseases ahead of winter. 

 

“We’ve seen massive advances in vaccine technology in recent years and it’s fantastic older Australians – the people who are most at risk of complications and death from RSV – can take positive steps to protect themselves,” he said. 

 

“I thank the NSW Government for proactively expanding vaccination access for our most vulnerable populations and look forward to continuing to work alongside them to improve vaccine uptake across New South Wales.” 

 

PSA National President, Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS, called on other Australian jurisdictions to follow NSW’s lead. 

 

“ATAGI yesterday issued three significant statements about vaccination – for COVID-19, influenza and, for the first time, RSV. Now we have a vaccine that is recommended, it’s important to make sure people can access it from all their regular vaccine providers.” 

 

RSV vaccines are currently not funded by the National Immunisation Program. 

Pharmacists ready to administer more vaccines to more Tasmanians

Thursday 23 March 2023

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia joins with the Tasmanian premier encouraging Tasmanians to utilise the vaccinating skills of their local pharmacist when having a prescribed vaccine dispensed.

 

Premier Rockliff this morning launched updated Tasmanian Immunisation Program Guidelines at a pharmacy in South Hobart, which comes into effect today.

 

PSA’s Tasmanian President David Peachey welcomed the Premier’s support and endorsement of the skills of pharmacists as core part of Tasmania’s vaccinator workforce:

 

‘Pharmacists are ready to support the Tasmanian population by administering prescribed vaccines and bypassing an unnecessary return trip to the medical centre after a vaccine has been dispensed at a community pharmacy’

 

‘Next time you take a prescription for a vaccine to your local pharmacy, you can save a return visit to the medical centre by having your pharmacist administer it for you. This is in addition to medicines pharmacists can already authorise and administer, including influenza, COVID19, whooping cough and Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR).’

 

Mr Peachey said the move would help reduce pressure on wait times for medical services, as well and provide a more convenient option for patients:

 

‘Tasmanian pharmacists know all too well the overwhelming pressure and demand our medical colleagues are experiencing, and we welcome any initiatives remove an unnecessary step in accessing health care, such as vaccination.

 

‘All health professionals need more time to with their patients who have more complex health needs, and having local pharmacists administering more vaccines helps facilitate this.’

 

PSA continues to advocate for pharmacist to be able to authorise as well as administer routine and travel health vaccines as their counterparts in other states, particularly NSW and Queensland, are already able to do.

 

PSA will also continue to advocate for the removal of cost discrimination on vaccine administration:

 

‘It makes no sense that patients cannot access a consultation fee for the administration of a vaccine, by pharmacists yet the MBS has provision for both nurses and medical practitioners to do this in general practice. Mr Peachey continued.

 

’As long as community pharmacists must continue to charge administration fees to cover the cost of this service, it will not reach its full potential.’

 

Media contact: Georgia Clarke M: 0480 099 798 E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au 

PSA welcomes refreshed National Medicines Policy

20 December 2022

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the updated National Medicines Policy, announced today by Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP.

 

The National Medicines Policy is a framework for ensuring Australians have timely access to affordable, quality medicines that are used appropriately.

 

The refreshed plan elevates the need to address access challenges, particularly equity and equality for all Australians, and is consistent with PSA’s plan for the future, Pharmacists in 2023, placing patients at the centre of care supported by pharmacists as medicine experts wherever medicines are prescribed, supplied or administered.

 

Dr Fei Sim, National President of PSA, congratulated Professor Michael Kidd AM on delivering an improved policy which meets the contemporary needs of Australians.

 

“Medicines are our most common intervention in health care. It is essential that Australians have access to quality and affordable medicines when they need them.” said Dr Sim.

 

“PSA has long advocated for the NMP to be reviewed, so we are very pleased to see the Minister deliver on this today. We welcome support for national pharmacovigilance systems, however it is crucial that these systems be nationally coordinated and real-time in order to significantly reduce harms which can be caused by medicines.

 

“We also welcome the recognition that clinical indicators will need to be used to evaluate policy, as this is something else PSA has been fighting for over many years. It is great to see Minister Butler commit to regular 5-yearly reviews to ensure the NMP remains up to date.

 

“PSA has long been concerned about the preventable harm caused by medicines and has driven the conversation on medicine safety in Australia. We are excited to see changes in policy which should help drive solutions and improve medicine safety for all Australians and look forward to partnering with the government and other organisations to deliver on the goals of this policy.

 

PSA would like to thank the Expert Advisory Committee members including Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom AO, Dr Sarah Dineen-Griffin MPS, Mr David Herd, and Mrs Jan Donovan for their contributions.

 

Media contact:   Candice Burch M: 0403 973 097     E: Candice.burch@psa.org.au

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is the only national peak body that represents all of Australia’s pharmacists across all practice settings. We want every Australian to have access to the best healthcare, and this must include optimising access to pharmacists’ knowledge and medicines expertise at the forefront of our healthcare system.

SA Health Minister launches PSA Museum

Friday 16 December 2022

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is proud to open the new pharmaceutical museum in South Australia.

 

The collection, which is housed at the PSA offices in Adelaide, showcases the history of pharmacy practice, including compounding from botanical sources: opium poppies, lavender, coca, and cannabis through to the emergence of propriety products like asthma cigarettes and various other products like chocolate coated Blaud, strychnine and arsenic pills.

 

The South Australian Health Minister Chris Picton MP formally opened the museum today. The Minister commended PSA for its work on curating the museum.

 

“It is wonderful to see such an important and interesting part of our health history on display for South Australians to enjoy. This museum demonstrates just how far pharmacy has come, while showcasing its fascinating origins” the Minister said.

 

PSA South Australia and Northern Territory Vice President Dr Manya Angley thanked the Health Minister for opening the museum, saying that it demonstrates just how far pharmacy has come.

 

“We are very lucky to have medicines and tools from pharmacists dating back to the 1800s,” Dr Angley said.

 

“Many of them we now consider dangerous, with regulations and testing increasing safety in use of medicines and medical devices.

 

“The collection also contains the beautiful gold leaf carboys which are used as decoration with no other function. There is a significant collection of items from the Runges Pharmacies that were acquired by PSA in the 1980s.

 

There is an extensive collection of historic books including one pharmacological text dating back to 1704! Among other texts on display are a number of handwritten prescription books – still in use in the 1970s – pharmacists’ own formularies, a collection of pharmacopeias from South Australian hospitals and some versions of the Australian War Pharmacopeia. The museum also houses one of the only collections containing every edition of the ‘bible of pharmacy’, PSA’s Australian Pharmaceutical Handbook and Formulary (APH).

 

“The museum is a special place for pharmacists to better connect with the profession and will be a central part of future PSA events in Adelaide.

 

“We sincerely thank Runge family, Trevor Lockett, Trevor Craig and Brian Edwards for their generous donations to the museum.

 

The Minister also announced the naming of the Lloyd Sansom training room and Grant Kardachi boardroom in recognition of both Lloyd and Grant’s significant and enduring leadership in pharmacy.

 

The museum will be open to the public by appointment with the PSA SA Office on (08) 8272 1211.

 

Media contact:   Candice Burch M: 0403 973 097     E: candice.burch@psa.org.au

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is the only national peak body that represents all of Australia’s pharmacists across all practice settings. We want every Australian to have access to the best healthcare, and this must include optimising access to pharmacists’ knowledge and medicines expertise at the forefront of our healthcare system.

SA Health Sector must work together to improve patient access

19 December 2022

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) strongly rejects recent comments made by Australian Medical Association South Australia (AMA(SA)) that pharmacist prescribing pilots put patients at risk and calls on the AMA(SA) to work collaboratively with South Australian pharmacists to improve patient access to health care.

 

PSA SA/NT Branch President Veronika Seda MPS welcomed the Parliament of South Australia Select Committee inquiry on Access to Urinary Tract Infection Treatment.

 

“The Queensland Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot (UTIPP-Q) has been undeniably successful, improving patient access to timely care.

 

“Pharmacists are registered health professionals with the same ethical and moral obligations as doctors. Pharmacists undergo a minimum of five-years’ training, as well as additional education and training so that they can provide the best possible care to their patients.

 

“Prescribing and dispensing are separate clinical activities. However, there are many examples where it is widely accepted that they can both be undertaken by the same clinician – whether this be vaccination, supply of Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 medicines – such as thrush treatments or medicines for migraines – or supply of a month’s prescription medicine in an emergency.’

 

“The common factor in all of these is strong clinical governance oversight, including professional standards, regulation, and program rules. A UTI program in South Australia would be no different.”

 

“Pharmacist prescribing trials conducted in other jurisdictions have shown pharmacists adhere to these strict protocols based on antimicrobial stewardship and best practice guidelines. Referral to a GP, where appropriate, is embedded into the protocol.

 

“Measures such as pharmacist vaccinations and pharmacist prescribing improve safe access to care. There is incredible demand on doctors, especially for complex presentations and chronic disease management. 

 

“It is time for doctors’ groups to put aside turf wars and work with other healthcare professionals to find better ways to support patients, because patients deserve timely access to care – they should not be disadvantaged based on their location, health or social status.

 

PSA remains committed to working collaboratively with the entire health sector to deliver best outcomes for patients.

 

 

Media contact:   Candice Burch M: 0403 973 097     E: candice.burch@psa.org.au

No more AACP re-accreditation fees from 1 July

3 June 2022

 

The Chair of the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP), George Tambassis, has announced the organisation will no longer charge re-accreditation fees from 1 July this year.

 

The AACP is the credentialing organisation for professional pharmacy cognitive services. Its primary role is to develop and administer the assessment process leading to the accreditation of registered pharmacists.

 

It is jointly owned by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild).

 

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild, Trent Twomey, welcomed the decision and said the move would help to encourage more pharmacists to broaden their practice.

 

“This is a very positive development and one which I am confident will lead to more pharmacists being able to work to their full scope of practice,” Professor Twomey said.

 

“All pharmacists should be able to prescribe, dispense, administer and review as an integral part of their everyday practice and the removal of the fees is an incentive towards this aim.

 

“The re-accreditation fee removal will be an incentive which will no doubt encourage pharmacists to work to their full scope.

 

“I encourage all pharmacists to become accredited and take advantage of this proactive decision by AACP.

 

“This is an important step in achieving full scope of practice for the profession.”

 

The National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Chris Freeman, outlined the need to increase the accredited pharmacist workforce.

 

“There is no doubt that the removal of reaccreditation fees will reduce barriers to pharmacists remaining accredited,” A/Prof Freeman said.

 

“We know there will be increased demand for accredited pharmacists especially with the recent aged care funding announcement and now is the time to expand the workforce.

 

“Accredited pharmacists make up an important part of the pharmacy professions ecosystem, and medication management reviews are an evidence-based clinical service proven to enhance the safe and effective use of medicines.

 

“Quite simply, we need more accredited pharmacists and more medication reviews being done.”

 

Media enquiries:

  • PSA Media: 0487 922 176
  • Guild: Peter Waterman 0419 260 827 Dee Zegarac 0400 493 071
  • AACP: George Tambassis 0412 000 552

SA Budget supports pharmacists to provide best care

3 June 2022

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)’s South Australian branch congratulates the Malinauskas Government and Health Minister Chris Picton on yesterday’s state budget, and increasing support for South Australian pharmacists.

 

The 2022-23 SA Budget delivers on SA Labor’s election commitments to trialling 24-hour pharmacies, as well as investing in medicine safety and mental health training for pharmacists.

 

With this new funding, pharmacists will be able to conduct medication reviews, better help patients with mental ill-health warning signs, and assist patients with respiratory illnesses.

 

“This Budget will allow pharmacists to continue using their expertise to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities,” says PSA SA President, Robyn Johns

 

“These measures will improve health outcomes for South Australians, better utilising the skills and experience of our pharmacists, while also reducing pressure on other sectors of the health system.

 

“The $1.75 million pharmacist package is a great investment in SA’s most accessible healthcare workforces.

 

“There is still work to be done to improve the health and wellbeing of South Australians, including expanding vaccinations pharmacists can administer, embedding pharmacists in state-run aged care facilities, funding pharmacists in Aboriginal Health Clinics, and employing transition of care pharmacists in all South Australian hospitals.

 

“PSA is looking forward to continuing our work with the South Australian Government to improve access to quality healthcare.”

 

 

Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463

Tasmanian pharmacists ready to deliver influenza vaccinations

2 June 2022

 

Today’s announcement that Tasmanian pharmacists will be able to deliver free influenza vaccinations to Tasmanians ages 10 and over has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) Tasmanian branch.

 

PSA Tasmania President David Peachey says the move will improve accessibility of flu vaccines for all Tasmanians, but said pharmacists can be doing more to help vaccinate children.

 

“Pharmacists have already delivered 30 per cent of Tasmania’s influenza vaccinations compared to 17 per cent nationally, and this funding will allow us to administer even more, now that every Tasmanian can get their flu shot at a local pharmacy for free.

 

“We appreciate that the Tasmanian Government is making a critical investment, by remunerating pharmacists for providing this service.

 

“PSA believes that pharmacists can be playing a greater role in vaccinating five to ten year old’s just as they have in other states this flu season.

 

“Pharmacists have demonstrated the crucial role they continue to play in protecting the health of Australians. Pharmacists are trained and ready to vaccinate children from five years old as they did during the pandemic.

 

Mr Peachey also highlighted the need for a national approach to influenza vaccination programs.

 

“PSA has long championed a consistent approach in all states and territories for pharmacists to administer vaccines.

 

“These state-based time-limited programs are only a band-aid for the bigger problem of funding arrangements which have not kept pace with population health needs.

 

“We urge the Federal Government to introduce an MBS service payment to pharmacists for administering vaccines, so that we can ensure more consumers have free access to potentially life-saving vaccinations.

 

“We need to make it easier for all Australians to be protected against influenza every year by consistently removing the cost barriers currently faaced by many Australians” he concluded.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Incoming Health Minister should champion safe and quality use of medicines

Tuesday 31 May 2022

 

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement of the Hon. Mark Butler MP as Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Emma McBride MP MPS as Assistant Minister for Regional and Rural Health under the Albanese Labor Government.

 

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, says he looks forward to working with the new Federal Government to ensure pharmacists’ voices are being heard.

 

“We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with the Australian Labor Party, in particular with incoming Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Mark Butler MP,” he said.

 

“I would also like to congratulate fellow pharmacist and PSA member, Emma McBride MP MPS on her appointment as Assistant Minister for Regional and Rural Health.

 

“As one of Australia’s key frontline health professionals, pharmacists share the drive to deliver world-class healthcare to all Australians.

 

“PSA is ready to work with the Minister to progress the funding of onsite aged care pharmacists and ensuring all Australians have access to fully funded National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines, including influenza vaccinations.

 

“Patients still face out of pocket costs to receive an influenza vaccination under the NIP if delivered by a pharmacist, whilst this same service is subsidised if done at a general practice.

 

“It must also be a priority for the incoming Minister for Health and Aged Care to ensure that there is a consistent approach to the NIP vaccines and that all Australians can access fully funded vaccinations from their local pharmacist.”

 

A/Prof Freeman pointed to workforce shortages and pharmacist retention as one of the major challenges facing the sector.

 

“There are consistent challenges in recruiting and retaining pharmacists across all sectors, with many choosing to leave pharmacy because of low base rates of pay,” he said.

 

“We need investment in a whole of profession workforce strategy so that we can sustainably meet all the exciting opportunities in front of the profession, while provide rewarding careers, both professionally and financially.

 

“PSA has a long history of working with governments at all levels to achieve better outcomes for Australian pharmacists and their communities, and we look forward to continuing that work with the incoming ALP Health team,” A/Prof Freeman concluded.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463

NSW pharmacists now eligible to vaccinate children under School Vaccination Program

Monday 9 May 2022

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) New South Wales Branch welcomes the announcement that pharmacist immunisers in NSW can now administer vaccines under the NSW School Vaccination Program.

 

On Saturday, the NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazard, confirmed changes to allow trained pharmacist immunisers to supply and administer National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines to NSW children who are eligible for vaccination in the NSW School Vaccination Program.

 

Pharmacist immunisers can now administer human papillomavirus (HPV) and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (dTpa) vaccines to people 12 years and over, and the meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine to people over 14 years.

 

PSA NSW Branch President, Chelsea Felkai, said this move will significantly improve vaccine access for young people across NSW.

 

“This is very welcome news for New South Wales pharmacist immunisers. Pharmacists have proven themselves time and time again through the COVID-19 pandemic as one of our most accessible healthcare workforces. They are trained and experienced in vaccinating younger age groups.

 

“We are delighted that pharmacists will now be able to contribute to increasing vaccine accessibility and immunisation rates across our school population.

 

“It is essential that all NSW children have timely access to HPV, dTpa and MenACWY vaccines. Vaccination is the best way to ensure these susceptible populations and their families are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases – they will now have the convenient option of protecting themselves through local pharmacies.

 

“PSA has been advocating for this for some time, as highlighted in our most recent budget submission. We must continue to remove barriers to vaccination and ensure that pharmacists are properly remunerated for the vaccination services they provide,” Ms Felkai said.

 

PSA will continue to work closely with the New South Wales Government to improve vaccine accessibility for all New South Wales residents.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0403 973 097