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New advice for antibiotics

As part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is urging pharmacists to work with patients to take antibiotics for the number of days advised by the prescriber.

 

To support pharmacists and patients, the cautionary advisory label (CAL D) for antibiotics has been revised and will be published in the next edition of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary (APF25) due for release January 2021.

 

PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said the revised label is a change to the previous recommendations and is the result of comprehensive stakeholder consultation.

 

“This is one of a multitude of actions to help combat bacterial resistance to antibiotics,” he said.

 

“Taking antibiotics for longer than necessary does not improve outcomes and increases the risk of acquiring resistant organisms.

 

“As the revised CAL D presents a change in behaviour for patients, pharmacists need to work with patients on the appropriate duration of treatment for antibiotics.

 

“Pharmacists should confirm that patients are aware of treatment duration and if a patient is not aware, or it is not specified on the prescription, the pharmacist should consult with the prescriber to confirm the intended duration.

 

Under the new guidance, patients should stop taking the antibiotic when the prescribed duration of treatment is complete and any unused antibiotics should be returned to the pharmacy for disposal.

 

Pharmacists are also reminded to discuss with patients the importance of contacting the prescriber if their symptoms worsen or do not improve in the timeframe advised.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Academic Advisory Committee

Role

 

The role of the Academic Advisory Committee is to provide high level expert advice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and management team on contemporary and relevant education and training related issues and opportunities.

 

Specifically, to advise on:

 

  1. local and international trends on education and training design and delivery
  2. local and international trends in pharmacy practice, including digital delivery, contemporary learning methods and innovative assessment methods
  3. factors that influence the pharmacists’ role in health care provision
  4. areas for capacity building and improving professional practice and service delivery across the pharmacy profession in Australia
  5. national priority areas for PSA’s education and training programs across the various practice settings
  6. the participant learning experience
  7. target audiences and associated needs
  8. potential opportunities for collaboration with other organisations

 

Operating Parameters

 

Committee representatives will be appointed for a 2 year term.

 

Committee members may nominate a proxy to Committee meetings, provided they are fully briefed and competent to act as a proxy, as determined by the Committee Chair. The Committee member needs to consult with the Chair before nominating a proxy.

 

The line of reporting for the Committee is directly to the CEO.

 

The General Manager – Knowledge Development and General Manager – Education and Training Delivery, and relevant staff of the respective business units will attend all Committee meetings. Other staff may attend meetings as required and agreed by the Committee Chair and CEO.

 

PSA Academic Advisory Committee_.TOR 2020

 

Please fill out the below form and return to education@psa.org.au by Sunday 6 December 2020

 

Academic Advisory Committee EOI Form

PSA welcomes NSW Government budget commitments

Tuesday 17 November 2020

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the NSW Government’s budget commitments to healthcare, in particular investing in systems to track prescribed medicines associated with high risk of causing harm or dependence.

 

PSA NSW Branch President Chelsea Felkai commended the Government on this initiative with PSA having advocated, most recently in its pre-budget submission for funds to be allocated to a real time prescription monitoring system (RTPM).

 

“The implementation of RTPM will better inform clinical decision-making and improve medicine and patient safety,” she said.

 

“Deaths from prescription medicines have outpaced deaths from illicit drugs in Australia and RTPM will reduce inappropriate multiple prescribing events, reduce fraudulent prescribing and improve quality of care by facilitating a patient-centred approach.

 

“PSA also welcomes the $55.9 million investment over four years to increase support for palliative care services to provide the best quality care and support for those reaching the end of their life.

 

“PSA has worked alongside the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) in supporting palliative care education for pharmacists who play a vital role in increasing access to core medicines for anticipatory prescribing, and work as part of a multidisciplinary team to support end of life care.”

 

Also included in the budget was $169.4 million over four years for mental health, the purchasing of over $1 billion in personal protective equipment to keep frontline health workers safe and $30 million for additional emergency department attendances and ambulance calls.

 

The PSA pre-budget submission called on the NSW Government to facilitate and fund community pharmacists to manage non-urgent presentations and allocate $9 million to reduce the financial impact and burden on emergency departments and improve access to health care through community pharmacy.

 

Ms Felkai said more than 10 per cent of emergency department presentations are considered non-urgent and 70 per cent of these presentations occur during business hours of a community pharmacy.

 

“Building upon the established accessibility of community pharmacies and the skills of pharmacists in the primary health care space will drastically improve the community’s access to health services.

 

“Allowing community pharmacists to triage, manage or refer patients to doctors for non-urgent or low urgency medical conditions would create significant benefits for both patient health and would save the health system between $131m and $439m a year.

 

“We also welcome the $1 billion investment in PPE which should include pharmacists in not only community pharmacies but hospitals and aged care facilities.

 

“As the peak body representing pharmacists in Australia we will continue to work with the NSW Government to ensure that pharmacists are better utilised to improve the state’s healthcare system.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

PSA welcomes appointment of new Queensland Health Minister

Thursday 12 November 2020

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia welcomes the appointment of new Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath.

 

PSA Queensland Branch President Shane MacDonald congratulated Ms D’Ath on her appointment and said PSA look forward to working with the new Minister on behalf of all Queensland pharmacists.

 

“It is an exciting time to be a pharmacist in Queensland and we look forward to working with the new Minister and building on the work we have already done with this Government,” he said.

 

“PSA has maintained a strong relationship with the Palaszczuk Government and we expect that to continue with the new Minister, particularly with Yvette’s depth of experience.”

 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PSA and the Labor Government worked together on a number of important measures to ensure pharmacists remained safe and patients could continue to access their medications,” he said.

 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Steven Miles for his work as Minister for Health and Ambulance Services and wish him well in his new portfolio.”

 

Prior to the election the Labor party made a number of key commitments to PSA and to pharmacists and PSA stands ready to continue to work with the government as they are implemented.

 

Mr MacDonald said PSA are also looking forward to working with the Government and Queensland Health to build on the success of pharmacists being embedded into patient care teams in the transition from hospitals to primary care.

 

“As the peak body for pharmacists, PSA is committed to working with the government to unlock the tremendous contribution pharmacists make to the health of Queenslanders,” he said.

 

“We will also urge the Government to allow pharmacists to directly administer more routine medicines for Queenslanders. This will improve Queensland patients’ management of complex health conditions no matter where they live and we will continue to reiterate the imperative to appoint a Chief Pharmacist for Queensland.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

PSA congratulates returned Palaszczuk Government

Monday 2 November 2020

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) congratulates the re-elected Palaszczuk Government and look forward to working together to improve the health of Queenslanders through supporting the vital role of pharmacists in the Queensland (QLD) healthcare system.

 

In congratulating the returning government, PSA QLD Branch President Shane MacDonald thanked the labor party on their commitments to PSA and the broader pharmacy profession prior to the election.

 

“Leading up to the election the Labor party committed to work with PSA to design and implement a trial of pharmacists practicing to their full scope in North Queensland,” he said.

 

“PSA has long advocated that current regulatory barriers prevent pharmacists from providing the full range of care that is within their professional scope of practice, skills and training.

 

“The Labor party also agreed to support PSA to develop an evidence based model for embedding pharmacists in transitions of care across all Queensland Hospital and Health Services.

 

“Employing transition-of care pharmacists to work with a patient’s care team through outpatient consultations or providing outreach services can reduce medicine harm significantly reducing the burden and cost of care on Queensland’s hospitals.”

 

The returning labor party acknowledged the essential role that pharmacists have played in maintaining the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Mr MacDonald said PSA would work closely with the Labor Government and also advocate to allow pharmacists to administer more routine medicines, such as injectable buprenorphine, insulin or Vitamin B12, to improve Queensland Patients’ management of complex health conditions.

 

“While the Queensland Government has increased access to immunisations, pharmacists are skilled in administering simple injections and amending some regulations will remove the barrier artificially preventing pharmacists from providing safe, convenient and timely health care to Queenslanders at no cost to the government,” he said.

 

“Although we applaud the role the Chief Allied Health Officer and the public health units during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also reiterate the need to appoint a Chief Pharmacist to provide strategic leadership in improving medicine safety for Queensland and drive coordination and rapid implementation of public health measures during emergencies.”

 

“PSA thank the Palaszczuk Government for these commitments and we look forward to working closely with them over the next four years.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

WA pharmacists now able to vaccinate outside pharmacy

Monday 2 November 2020

 

Western Australians will be better protected following an announcement by the WA Government that will allow pharmacists to administer vaccinations outside of a community pharmacy.

 

Pharmacists will now be able to provide vaccinations to patients in places such as aged care settings, public and private hospitals and community health centres as well as community pharmacies.

 

PSA WA Branch President Dr Fei Sim welcomed the announcement which will help ensure those most vulnerable in the community can receive vital vaccinations for preventable diseases such as influenza.

 

“Pharmacists are more than capable of providing this service to Western Australians and this initiative will be particularly beneficial to patients that have difficulties accessing vaccinations, such as those who are housebound or residents of aged care facilities,” she said.

 

“At a time when those most vulnerable in our communities are hesitant or not willing to go out in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing options for those people to access vital vaccinations is essential.

 

“I thank the WA Government for this decision that will allow pharmacists to help vaccinate more people and increase immunisation rates within the community.

 

PSA has continually called for WA residents to be provided better access to immunisation services through the removal of artificial barriers to pharmacist-administered vaccination.

 

“As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA will continue to work with the WA Government to remove barriers which restrict pharmacists from administering vaccines to better protect the community,” said Dr Sim.

 

“This includes making regulative changes to enable appropriately trained pharmacists to administer vaccines which can be administered by other immunisers.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

PSA strongly backs proposed recommendations to Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission

Thursday 22 October 2020

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia strongly backs a number of proposed recommendations by counsel assisting during final submissions at the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that, if adopted, will improve medicine safety for older Australians.

 

In particular, PSA endorses the proposed recommendation that pharmacists be embedded within all aged care facilities across Australia.

 

PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said pharmacists were critical to ensure the safe and quality use of medicines in aged care.

 

“Counsel assisting has recognised the vital role of pharmacists in tackling the problems of overuse of opioids, chemical restraints and inappropriate use of antibiotics”.

 

“PSA is pleased counsel assisting has adopted our recommendation for pharmacists to have a greater role in aged care and be embedded in these environments. We maintain pharmacists need to be able to spend more time on the ground in aged care, to be able to protect residents when it comes to the safe and effective use of medicines.

 

“The Aged Care Quality and Safety Royal Commission in its interim report has already recognised the urgent need to address the critical medicine safety failures in aged care.

 

“Our Medicine Safety: Aged Carereport found more than 95 per cent of people living in aged care facilities have at least one problem with their medicine and most have three. Many of these problems are very serious, and potentially catastrophic.

 

“For too long pharmacists have felt powerless that the system has not supported them in addressing these problems.

 

“If adopted, these recommendations would provide real hope that our older and vulnerable Australians will receive safer care.

 

PSA endorses the establishment of benchmarking and public reporting of quality indicators which must include data on medicine safety.

 

Associate Professor Freeman said comprehensive indicators on the safe and quality use of medicines currently do not exist.

 

“The public reporting and measurement of this data is necessary to improve medicine safety,” he said.

 

“We know that when pharmacists spend more time on the ground in aged care they can make a meaningful difference to how medicines are prescribed and administered to improve safety for all residents over time.”

 

Associate Professor Freeman urged the Commission to adopt the recommendation to establish an aged care workforce planning division and an aged care workforce fund.

 

“PSA supports a staffing ratio of at least 0.5 FTE pharmacists per 100 residents,” he said.

 

“This will ensure that pharmacists have the time to properly address medication management issues within the aged care environment.”

 

PSA also welcomes the proposed establishment of a dedicated research council to conduct research into effective programs to improve the use of medicines in aged care.

 

“Up until now research into aged care has been ad-hoc and small-scale. This will provide a better opportunity to develop the evidence base for best practice models of care that will improve medicine safety for older Australians.

 

“Australians now know just how devastating medicine safety problems are among our aged care residents. They deserve action. Adopting these recommendations will begin to fundamentally shift aged care in a direction that finally makes medicines safer for all.”

 

PSA’s submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety can be found at https://my.psa.org.au/s/article/Aged-Care-Quality-and-Safety

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Aged Care report can be found at https://www.psa.org.au/advocacy/working-for-our-profession/medicine-safety/aged-care/

PSA urges QLD political parties to support pharmacists improve health

Monday 12 October 2020

 

Leading up to the Queensland state election later this month, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) calls on all political parties to commit to improving the health of Queenslanders through pharmacy related initiatives.

 

PSA Queensland Branch President Shane MacDonald said the upcoming election was the perfect time to commit to new reforms that will allow pharmacists, as medicines experts to practice to their full range of abilities that will lead to a healthier Queensland.

 

“PSA urges all political parties to allow pharmacists to administer more routine medicines, such as injectable buprenorphine, insulin or Vitamin B12, to improve Queensland patients’ management of complex health conditions,” he said.

 

“Pharmacists are skilled in administering simple injections however, Queensland law currently limits the medicines which can be administered to some vaccines and adrenaline.

 

“Pharmacists in Victoria and the ACT are able to do so and are already administering medicines by injection to patients – such as buprenorphine for opioid dependence and denosumab for osteoporosis​.

 

“Amending regulations will remove the barrier artificially preventing pharmacists from providing safe, convenient and timely health care to Queenslanders and be at no cost the Queensland government.”

 

PSA also asked for the elected party to establish and fund transition-of-care pharmacists in all tertiary Queensland hospitals to avoid preventable readmissions.

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report revealed over 90 percent of patients have at least one medicine-related problem on leaving hospital.

 

Mr MacDonald said many of these problems could be severe and cause harm, requiring readmission to hospital and reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions significantly reduced the burden and cost of care on Queensland’s hospitals.

 

“Employing transition-of-care pharmacists to work with the patient’s care team through outpatient consultations or providing services can reduce medicine harm,” he said.

 

“Whether this be through reviewing medicines for patients who had experience a heart attack, phoning patients to help safely wean doses of steroid medicines or coordinating medicines for patients with complex medicine profiles.”

 

PSA has also reiterated the need to appoint a Chief Pharmacist to provide strategic leadership in improving medicine safety for Queensland and to drive coordination and rapid implementation of public health measures during emergencies.

 

“The absence of a Chief Pharmacist in Queensland during COVID-19 saw delays in implementing vital initiatives to support continuing medicine supply, such as digital image prescriptions and electronic prescriptions,” said Mr MacDonald.

 

“A Chief Pharmacist is needed to provide advice and leadership for timely government responses to emergencies as they occur and to deliver on Queensland’s commitment to Australia’s 10th National Health Priority Area: The Safe and Quality Use of Medicines.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

World Mental Health Day: Opportunity for pharmacists to do more

One in five Australians are affected by mental illness annually with many more impacted by the recent bushfire crisis and current COVID-19 pandemic. This World Mental Health Day, Saturday 10 October is encouraging everyone to make a promise to “Look after your mental health, Australia.”

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is taking stock to recognise the important relationship between a person affected by mental illness, their pharmacist and health care team.

 

Acting PSA President Michelle Lynch acknowledged the Government’s $5.7 billion investment into mental health during this week’s budget, which paves the way for pharmacists to play a greater role in the delivery of mental health care in Australia.

 

“A majority of Australians visit their pharmacist around 14 times a year and as trusted and accessible health professionals pharmacists often come in contact with patients suffering mental ill-health,” she said.

 

“Enabling pharmacists to recognise potential signs and symptoms of mental ill-health as well as support patients and refer on to GPs or emergency care, has the potential to not only improve outcomes, but potentially save lives.”

 

In response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Mental Health PSA said engaging pharmacists in the delivery of mental health care in Australia will lead to earlier intervention, improved treatment outcomes and a reduction in medication harms.

 

PSA made five key recommendations to the Productivity Commission which included developing and implementing regular reviews for people with mental ill-health, incorporating pharmacogenomic testing, integrating pharmacists in suicide prevention strategies and supporting pharmacists on the front lines who come in contact with people with mental ill-health.

 

Ms Lynch said there was an opportunity to better use the skills of pharmacists to improve the use of medicines for mental ill health by integrating pharmacists into multidisciplinary mental healthcare teams as well as support early detection and intervention for a patient in mental health crisis.

 

“Recently PSA provided government funded mental health first aid training to pharmacists and pharmacy support staff in bushfire-affected regions, to support communities affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, with pharmacists often the first port of call for many people suffering mental ill-health.”

 

“Pharmacists have been extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive this funded training, and the positive feedback indicates there is a clear need to upskill pharmacists as mental health problems increase in prevalence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

The final report was handed to the Australian Government on 30 June 2020 and is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Federal Budget Builds a safer medicines future for all Australians

Tuesday 6 October 2020

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Morrison Government’s 2020-21 Federal Budget commitment to pharmacists with a new medicines listing guarantee and supply chain reforms.

 

Acting PSA President Michelle Lynch said the $2.8 billion investment over four years for a new medicines listing guarantee would improve access to medicines for all Australians.

 

“The guaranteed listing of all new medicines recommended by the PBAC gives patients certainty that new and lifesaving medicines are available on the PBS,” she said.

 

“The PBS Unique Identification Framework will allow improved medicine safety by allowing the assessment and tracking of medicines when they come into Australia, through to dispensing of medicines to patients.

 

“This will support medicine recalls and reduce the potential for counterfeit medicines.”

 

PSA also acknowledges tonight’s budget secures funding for the 7CPA, providing $18.3 billion for the delivery of medicines and patient-focused programs for the safe and quality use of medicines.

 

Also announced was significant investment in aged care which includes a record 23,000 home care packages, delivered at a cost of $1.6 billion as well as $5.7 billion to be spent on mental health in 2020-21.

 

Ms Lynch said these measures lay the groundwork for the future with the opportunity for pharmacists to do more in medicine safety in areas including in mental health and aged care.

 

“We have continued to call for funding to ensure pharmacists have more time on the ground in aged care to address the issues of chemical restraint and medicines safety more broadly,” she said.

 

“We will continue to highlight that the challenges posed by medicine use in aged care can only be fixed by pharmacists playing a larger role in protecting residents from the harm caused by overuse and misuse of medicines.

 

PSA also welcomes the $22.5m investment in improving the use of antimicrobials supporting the government’s commitment to medicine safety as Australia’s 10th National Health Priority Area. This will help to monitor and reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance in Australia.

 

The continued implementation of the MBS Review Taskforce recommendations is vital to ensure its recommendations, such as the positive recommendation for medication management services for complex patients, will be implemented.

 

These announcements come on the back of the Morrison Government’s $25 million investment in medicine safety through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), continuation of home medicines delivery and continued dispensing arrangement announced by the Federal Government late last month.

 

Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176