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Every older Australian to be protected by a pharmacist: now is the time for action

Monday 1 March 2021; Now is the time for the Australian Government to act on the recommendations from the Royal Commission in Aged Care to protect all residents from the harms of inappropriate medicine use – including chemical restraint.

 

Recommendations to protect aged care residents by ensuring they have access to embedded pharmacists and timely, regular medication management reviews must be among the first priorities to be actioned.

 

PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, said the recommendations demonstrated how urgently the medicine safety problems in aged care need to be addressed.

 

“Inappropriate chemical restraint, and polypharmacy leading to sedation, falls and avoidable hospitalisations are some of the biggest problems in aged care. Pharmacists are the key to solving these problems.

 

PSA is pleased the majority of recommendations in its submission have been endorsed by the Royal Commission, particularly in regards to embedding pharmacists in aged care facilities, working in multidisciplinary teams, and strengthening clinical governance.

 

PSA is particularly supportive of the following recommendations which must be implemented immediately:

 

  • Recommendation 38: Residential aged care providers to employ or retain allied health professionals, including pharmacists
  • Recommendation 58: Access and funding to specialists and other health practitioners, including pharmacists, through Multidisciplinary Outreach Services
  • Recommendation 64: Increased access and funding for pharmacists to conduct medication management reviews for every resident on entry to a facility, and annually thereafter, including respite care and transition care, by 1 January 2022
  • Recommendation 65: Restricting initiation of antipsychotic prescriptions in residential aged care to psychiatrists and geriatricians, by 1 November 2021
  • Recommendation 67: Improving data on the interaction between the health and aged care systems through implementation of unique identifiers for aged care facilities, by 1 July 2022

 

“The recommendations in the final report challenge all of us to comprehensively rethink the way we support and protect older Australians,” said Associate Professor Freeman.

 

“Putting in place quality-indicators, improving clinical governance, increasing accountability, providing better staff training and ongoing professional development are all measures required if generational change to our aged care system is to be achieved.

 

“All of Australia’s 34,000 pharmacists have a critical role in improving medicine-related harm and providing a better aged care system and support for older Australians.

 

“After 18 inquiries over 24 years, now is the time for action to improve the care for the Australians who need it the most.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

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Call for the next leaders of Australia’s Peak Body for Pharmacists

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is calling for nominations to PSA’s seven State and Territory Branches.

 

PSA is the peak body representing the 34,000 pharmacists who work across Australia. PSA is owned by and run for its members – but also importantly PSA is led by its members.

 

With 2021 being an election year for PSA, PSA is looking for leaders to make an impact by helping lead the profession as a PSA Branch Committee Member.

 

The role of the seven branches of the PSA (Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia/Northern Territory and Western Australia) is to assist the Society to achieve its Objects for Members.

 

The Branches have a very important purpose for the PSA, they are responsible for: appointing the Board of the PSA; providing input and advice on local policy issues affecting pharmacists; providing input on PSA products and services; and ensuring PSA is relevant and fighting for every pharmacist across every state and territory.

 

Branch committee positions are for a term of two years from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023.

 

Nominations close 5pm AEDT on Friday 26 March. Full details and nomination forms are available on the PSA website from 26 February at https://www.psa.org.au/2021-branch-committee-elections

 

For more information about the 2021 PSA election nomination process, please contact PSA’s State or Territory Managers. For more information about the 2021 election itself, please contact the PSA Company Secretary at Company.Secretary@psa.org.au

 

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Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Help shape the future of pharmacy

Nominations for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) 2021 State and Territory Branch Committee elections are due to open from 26 February 2021 for full financial members.

 

The full election process will be held from March to May 2021. Following the postponed 2020 elections, terms of newly elected committee members will commence 1 July 2021 and end 30 June 2023 to maintain the existing three year election cycle.

 

The elections are a unique opportunity for members to lead the pharmacy profession through PSA, the peak national body for pharmacists, to:

 

  • Have your say in the future of PSA
  • Help lead the profession to support excellence in pharmacy
  • Influence health policies and ensure a viable and sustainable future for pharmacists and pharmacy
  • Enjoy personal development and new career opportunities.

 

What PSA is looking for? Nominate today

All eligible members with an interest in leading the profession are welcome to nominate for the 2021 Branch Committee elections. As part of PSA’s diversity focus, we encourage nominations from:

 

  • Early Career Pharmacists (ECPs)
  • Female pharmacists
  • Pharmacists from a range of cultural backgrounds
  • Pharmacists located in rural and regional areas of Australia.

 

Election timetable

The key election announcements and dates are:

 

How to nominate

If you have the enthusiasm and drive to be a Pharmacy leader and influence the profession, make sure you nominate.

 

  1. the nomination and election processes are being independently conducted by CorpVote.
  2. in order to nominate, the member will need to first register themselves on the CorpVote Nomination System and then complete the process online.
  3. nominations must be supported by an eligible Nominator – use the system to complete this element of your nomination
  4. contact details for CorpVote Support:
    • 1300 710 950
    • International: +61 3 7034 4200
    support@corpvote.com.au

Download the Branch Committee Elections 2021 Fact Sheet

 

Should you wish to request the nominations form please contact returning.officer@psa.org.au

 

PharMIbridge RCT training for pharmacists in Northern Sydney

24 February 2021: Training for pharmacists in Northern Sydney involved in the Bridging the Gap between Physical and Mental Illness in Community Pharmacy (PharMIbridge) Randomised Control Trial (RCT) will be held in Northern Sydney on 24-25 February 2021.

 

The PharMIbridge RCT is a collaboration between the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Griffith University and the University of Sydney, aimed at enhancing the way community pharmacists support people living with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). The RCT is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health as part of the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

 

Professor Amanda Wheeler from Griffith University, who is leading the trial said that “People living with a mental illness are particularly vulnerable to isolation and the current pandemic has meant that many have struggled not only with their mental wellbeing but also managing their physical health. Regular check-ups and timely follow-up on new symptoms or issues with doctors, dentists and other allied health professionals has been hard with lockdowns and the loss of face-to-face interactions. PharMIbridge RCT offers an important opportunity for pharmacists to check-in with people living in the community with severe and persistent mental illness, with time to talk about their medication and health issues and support them to access the help they need.”

 

The PharMIbridge RCT, involving up to 8 community pharmacies in Northern Sydney, will test the effectiveness of a person-centred, goal-oriented, and flexible pharmacist-led support service for consumers living with SPMI, compared to a standard in-pharmacy medication review service (MedsCheck).

 

The PharMIbridge intervention involves an in-depth medicine support service delivered over six-months and aims to identify and address problems relating to psychotropic medication use or physical and psychological health concerns, with an emphasis on quality of life, physical health and psychological wellbeing.

 

A MedsCheck involves a pharmacist reviewing a consumer’s medication to improve medication use and address any medication-related questions, with a report sent to and/or discussed with the consumer’s GP.

 

The National President of the Guild, George Tambassis, said the Guild’s commitment to PharMIbridge reflected the importance of researching the impact of an increasing role of community pharmacists in mental health.

 

“This trial is an important initiative in determining the impact of a pharmacist’s intervention in helping people living with mental illness,” he said. “Pharmacists can be one of the first health professionals a mental health consumer will turn to for help.”

 

The trial is assessing the impacts of a pharmacist’s intervention and changes in consumer medication adherence and health outcomes, including quality of life, physical health, and mental wellbeing. It is also assessing the confidence and knowledge of community pharmacists to support consumers through the trial service.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, said as medicines experts, pharmacists play a vital role in the management of mental illness in the community.

 

“Pharmacists have an important role to play in supporting people who have a mental illness and are often in the frontline as a care provider, providing advice and assistance to people who may be suffering through these difficult times” A/Prof Freeman said.

 

The training workshop is followed by support from the Research Team over the nine months of trial implementation.

 

For more details, email pharmibridge@griffith.edu.au or visit griffith.edu.au/pharmibridge or call (07) 3735 8038.

 

Media release: PharMIbridge RCT training for pharmacists in Northern Sydney

Supporting those who support pharmacists

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) have entered into a new three-year Memorandum of Understanding, continuing PSA’s long term support for PSS and its work supporting pharmacists across the community.

 

The PSS provides a telephone support service, working on the principle of pharmacists supporting pharmacists, by providing a listening ear over the telephone to pharmacists, pharmacy interns and students. The PSS also receives queries and calls from family, friends, colleagues and pharmacy staff who are concerned about a pharmacist.

 

PSA President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, said the support service was an invaluable tool to assist community pharmacists around Australia, their patients, family and the broader community interests.

 

“PSA is happy to support the valuable work of this service, particularly as it sees pharmacists working together to address issues and concerns within the sector in the community interest,” A/Prof Freeman said.

 

The volunteers who take the calls are all pharmacists and are trained in the crisis model of telephone counselling to support their colleagues.

 

Pharmacists are often a first point of call for people with medical and medicinal issues, and the PSS provides an opportunity for all pharmacists to discuss stressful events and issues of concern with an independent colleague in a confidential manner.

 

The focus of the PSS is support, empowerment and information provision. It aims to benefit the public by ensuring that pharmacists maintain their health and well-being and provide an appropriate level of service to the Australian community.

 

Issues raised include stress, crime related trauma, workplace and workload concerns, employment matters, substance abuse, mental health, suicide, ill-health, professional and financial pressures, practice matters and ethical issues.

 

PSS President, John Coppock, said the MoU and sponsorship will allow the PSS to continue in its important support and advisory role.

 

“We welcome the PSA’s ongoing support – without continued support like this it would be difficult to maintain and operate this service for the sector and the community,” Mr Coppock said.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

A ‘momentous’ day: PSA welcomes start of vaccine roll out

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia – the peak organisation representing Australia’s 34,000 pharmacists – has labelled today a momentous day in Australia’s history as Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy commences.

 

PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, said pharmacists across Australia are excited by the first doses being administered today as the COVID-19 vaccine roll out marks the beginning of Australia’s exit from the pandemic.

 

‘Australia’s health response to the pandemic has been led by expert scientific health advice, and our national COVID-19 vaccination strategy is no different,” A/Prof Freeman said.

 

‘All Australians can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of approved COVID-19 vaccines which will be administered by competent, well-trained vaccinators, including pharmacists.”

 

Pharmacists working in Victoria’s COVID-19 hubs are among the first frontline health workers to be immunised against COVID-19 today ahead of going into quarantine hotels to support the workforce vaccination program this week.

 

PSA has worked with the Australian Government as well state and territory health departments in preparing for today’s roll-out. This includes consultation to support recent regulatory milestones, including:

    • Victoria has issued a Public Health Emergency Order providing approval for pharmacists and nurse immunisers to administer COVID-19 vaccines;
    • South Australia has issued approval for pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccine; and
    • The Northern Territory Parliament passed regulations last week to allow all authorised immunisers, including pharmacists, to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

 

These jurisdictions join Queensland in authorising pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines. PSA will continue to inform members as other states and territories update their regulations.

 

Pharmacists have shown enthusiasm in the COVID-19 vaccinator workforce:

 

“Around 1,000 pharmacist registered for a PSA COVID-19 webinar last week – keen to learn how they can support the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, and stand willing and able to protect the Australia community against this awful disease,” A/Prof Freeman said.

 

‘PSA will continue to support the profession through the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, including training more pharmacists to become vaccinators, maintaining our leading COVID-19 microsite and working with governments around the country to ensure the roll-out reaches as many Australians as possible.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Pharmacists respond to the COVID19 vaccine challenge

19 February 2021; Australia’s pharmacists are responding to the Federal Government’s call to assist in the COVID-19 vaccination program, with 1,000 pharmacists registering and more than 700 attending a Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) webinar session last night in preparation for their involvement in Phase 1 and 2 of the vaccination rollout.

 

The webinar – which included senior government officials leading the COVID-19 vaccination plan joining PSA President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman – provided information on the Commonwealth program, the role of pharmacists in Phase 1, the final call for Phase 2 Expressions of Interest to administer the vaccine through community pharmacy, and training and education to deliver the vaccine.

 

The PSA session had strong engagement from members seeking to learn more about the Commonwealth’s rollout plans, which included information about training and state-by-state implementation, the pharmacists’ role, how to register for the program, and common questions around requirements to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

 

A/Prof Freeman said the response from pharmacists to the webinar session had shown the high levels of interest and support for the COVID vaccine rollout.
“It is fantastic to see the level of support from our members – pharmacists will providing that support when vaccinations begin in March, and to deliver the AstraZeneca vaccine when the community pharmacy rollout commences in May,” he said.

 

“Pharmacists are well placed to assist in this program and the attendance at last night’s PSA webinar clearly demonstrates the commitment of our members and desire to ensure we understand the protocols and get the right training to deliver these vaccines safely.”

 

The PSA webinar was hosted by A/Prof Freeman and included the Health Department’s First Assistant Secretary Lisa Schofield, responsible for the whole-of-government taskforce on COVID-19 vaccine, and First Assistant Secretary Adriana Platona, responsible for the Community Pharmacy EOI call.

 

Clinical, logistical and separate State requirements were discussed and the pharmacists put forward more than 100 questions to the Health officials and PSA. All responses to the questions will be included in a COVID FAQ section on the PSA microsite -https://www.psa.org.au/coronavirus/#COVID-19-vaccines.

 

A/Prof Freeman noted that the South Australian Government yesterday joined with Queensland in approving pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

“This is all a part of the move to bring pharmacists into the rollout program – PSA and its members stand ready, willing and as last night’s webinar showed, increasingly able to be a major part of this massive vaccination program to protect Australians,” he added.

 

The webinar is available to view on the PSA website – https://my.psa.org.au/s/training-plan/a110o00000AiOWE/webinar-recording-are-you-ready-for-the-covid19-vaccine-roll-out – for members to access.

 

PDF media release: Pharmacists respond to the COVID19 vaccine challenge

PSA invites pharmacists to become part of COVID-19 vaccination program

Monday 1 February 2021; The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is urging pharmacists to join Australia’s fight against COVID-19 by taking up the Federal Government’s call to assist in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination program to the community.

 

Community pharmacists will join with other healthcare professionals such as GPs to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for the community from Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s COVID strategy.

 

The PSA is encouraging pharmacists to respond to the Government’s Expression of Interest (EOI) to be trained and equipped to assist in vaccinating Australians against the coronavirus.

 

Health Minister, Greg Hunt, said the Government was preparing “the necessary and compulsory training which will be required for each and every healthcare professional administering COVID-19 vaccines”.

 

PSA President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, welcomed the Minister’s announcement, saying community pharmacists were a vital link in delivering the COVID vaccine program to Australians.

 

“COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives and pharmacists have supported our community on the frontline – I am confident community pharmacists will step up to join Australia’s vaccination workforce, just as they have done throughout the coronavirus pandemic,” A/Prof Freeman said.

 

“Including pharmacists in the National rollout is in the public interest, to increase public access to vaccines quickly while increasing vaccination rates and pharmacists stand ready, willing, and able to deliver COVID vaccinations to the Australian community.

 

“At the core of every pharmacist is the innate desire to help the public and participating in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out is yet another way the profession is able to do just that.”

 

“PSA will be dedicated to supporting pharmacists to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine both safely and effectively to the public.”

 

Minister Hunt said they were working to ensure there was a suitable workforce “to administer the vaccines in an efficient manner, particularly to our priority groups including residential aged care, residential disability, and carers”, and pharmacists were a vital link in delivering the COVID vaccination program to Australians.

 

“Australia’s outstanding pharmacists have provided exceptional support for their patients during COVID-19 and will be an important partner in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines,” Minister Hunt said.

 

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for their constructive engagement and contribution to the design of the Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

 

“Utilising the existing network of thousands of community pharmacies will ensure the general population has broader access to COVID-19 vaccinations, will provide choice in where the community receives a vaccine, and will address barriers to accessing some parts of rural and regional Australia.

 

“Participation in the program will be voluntary and pharmacies will need to demonstrate that they meet the highest safety standards and have capacity and capability to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, as well as ensuring they can continue to provide important services to their local communities.”

 

A/Prof Freeman said community pharmacists were a vital cog in the roll out to communities around Australia and PSA would work with its members and the Government to ensure a seamless program delivery for Australians.

 

The selected pharmacies will have supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, once approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and pharmacists will be provided with vaccine-specific training, access to the Federal Government’s national booking system, and funding for delivering vaccines.

 

The focus of the EOI is to identify community pharmacists that are willing and able to deliver the AstraZeneca COVID-9 vaccine to Phase 2 priority populations, which include:

 

  • Adults aged 60-69 years;
  • Adults aged 50-59 years;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18-54 years;
  • Other critical and high risk workers;
  • Balance of adult population;
  • Catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases.

 

 

The COVID‑19 vaccine will be administered in the community pharmacy setting by appropriately COVID‑19 vaccine trained, registered pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers under the supervision of an Approved Pharmacist.

 

To qualify for the Government’s Phase 2 vaccination program, community pharmacies need to:

 

  • Undertake mandatory training designed and provided by the Commonwealth;
  • Provide the vaccine to members of the Phase 2 priority population, initially, continuing on to further priority groups sequentially in accordance with Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine national rollout strategy;
  • Utilise an appropriately qualified workforce in accordance with jurisdictional requirements to administer the vaccine, which may include nurse practitioners, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers;
  • Have the ability to scale-up vaccination workforce and site with potentially short lead times.
  • Engage with the National Booking System which is being established to provide a single point of entry to people who require vaccination;
  • Meet the requirements as a COVID-19 vaccination site;
  • Provide clear and accessible information at the community pharmacy for patients before, during, and after vaccination;
  • Enter all vaccinations into the Australian Immunisation Register within an appropriate timeframe; and
  • Be responsible for all on-premises clinical governance.

 

UWA takes out PSOTY Wildcard 2021 at NAPSA Congress

Friday 29 January 2021; Ma Christel Joyce Manuel from University of Western Australia (UWA) has won the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) Wildcard for the 2021 PSA Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) Award.

 

The PSOTY Wildcard final took place online as part of the NAPSA congress, with a talented field of students showcasing their clinical knowledge and implementing their counselling skills using real life pharmacy scenarios.

 

The PSOTY Wildcard final was fiercely contested amongst a group of talented students across Australia with the finalists being Samantha King (University of Queensland, QLD), Ma Christel Joyce Manuel (University of WA, WA) and Amirreza Zobdeh (Monash University, VIC)

 

Christel was judged the winner, displaying a high level of knowledge and ability.

 

“I am thrilled and honoured for this amazing opportunity. I want to congratulate the other students and look forward to the final at PSA21,” Christel said.

 

“This opportunity allows you to use your clinical and counselling skills to support patients in achieving better outcomes.”

 

PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, congratulated Christel on her achievement and highlighted the strong field of students competing for the wildcard spot.

 

“It is heartening to see the future of our profession on show, demonstrating a high level of clinical knowledge and passion,” he said.

 

“This competition provides students the opportunity to learn important skills such as gaining patient insights and patient understanding, active listening and skills that support positive patient outcomes.

 

“I commend all participants and finalists at this year’s competition and the future of pharmacy looks very bright going forward.”

 

PSOTY Wildcard Judge and Chief Executive Officer of the PSA, Mr Mark Kinsela, congratulated all the finalists in what was a difficult decision for the judging panel. Mr Kinsela thanked the other judges who included early career pharmacist Bridgette Mackley and NAPSA President Mr Ethan Kreutzer.

 

“The judges had a really difficult decision, all the finalists did a fantastic job. We commend each finalist for the way they professionally communicated with the patient, took a good patient history, excluded serious medical conditions and then arrived at an appropriate clinical recommendation,” Mr Kinsela said.

 

“The future of pharmacy looks very bright with these exceptional health professionals just starting out in their careers.”

 

Christel as the PSOTY Wildcard winner, and supported by Viatris, will travel to the PSA21 National Conference held in Sydney from 30 July – 1 August 2021, to compete for the national title of Pharmacy Student of the Year 2021.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176