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Health Minister to open PSA’s national conference next week

Friday 19 July 2019

 

Federal Health Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP will officially open the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) national conference PSA19 in Sydney on Friday 26 July.

 

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said that PSA had an excellent working relationship with Minister Hunt and the Coalition Government and was very pleased that he accepted the invitation to speak at PSA19.

 

“The Government has made many commitments to PSA, most notably declaring medicine safety a National Health Priority Area and announcing that PSA would be a signatory to the upcoming 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA),” he said.

 

“We look forward to Minister Hunt speaking on these topics and more broadly on how the pharmacy profession can work with Government on improving the health outcomes of all Australians.”

 

The theme of PSA19 is Pharmacists in 2023: unlocking your opportunities. This remains PSA’s focus – advocating for expanded roles, improved recognition and fairer remuneration for pharmacists as the custodians of medicine safety.

 

Leading into the 7CPA, community pharmacy is one of the best placed settings to deliver on primary healthcare advancements and preventative health.

 

“We will be calling on the Government to clearly recognise the role that community pharmacy has in primary healthcare and now more than ever commit to investing in the key role of community pharmacy as vital primary healthcare settings,” Dr Freeman said.

 

“PSA and the pharmacy profession look forward to hearing from Minister Hunt at next week’s conference and to continuing to work with the Coalition Government on improving the health outcomes of all Australians.”

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

 

Chris Freeman and Greg Hunt
PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman and Federal Health Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP

Former PSA National President John Bell honoured for his contribution to diabetes management

Friday 19 July 2019

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) congratulates former National President and Life Fellow John Bell AM on receiving Diabetes NSW & ACT’s most prestigious honour – the Sir Kempson Maddox Award.

 

PSA NSW Branch President Professor Peter Carroll said the award was further recognition of John’s extensive contribution not only to the pharmacy profession but the broader healthcare system.

 

The award, established in honour of Diabetes NSW & ACT’s founder, acknowledges people who have made a significant contribution to the diabetes movement.

 

“Since establishing the community pharmacy John Bell Pharmacist Advice in Woollahra in 1969, John has been working to not only improve the health of his local community, but also advocating for better national and international approaches to healthcare,” Professor Carroll said.

 

“As a former Board member of Diabetes NSW, John has spent many years working to raise awareness of diabetes prevention and treatment strategies.

 

“He has been a strong advocate for community pharmacists to take a greater role in diabetes management.”

 

John said that although diabetes was the fastest growing chronic condition worldwide, it can be effectively managed with a combination of lifestyle modification and appropriate pharmacological therapy.

 

“With more than 300 people diagnosed with diabetes in Australia every day, pharmacists have a critically important role to play in increasing awareness, identifying symptoms and assisting with strategies to reduce the risk of complications,” he said.

 

John has taken an active role in international pharmacy for more than 30 years, including eight years as Vice President of the Federation Internationale Pharmaceutique (FIP). In 2004 he received FIP’s highest honour, the Andre Bedat Award for services to international pharmacy practice.

 

John was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1993 for services to pharmacy and in 2017 he was awarded PSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the pharmacy profession and the Australian and international communities.

 

While still an active partner in his pharmacy practice, John currently teaches at the Graduate School of Health at the University of Technology Sydney, and serves on PSA’s NSW Branch Committee.

 

“PSA congratulates John on receiving the Sir Kempson Maddox Award and his ongoing commitment to diabetes management, the pharmacy profession and improving patient health outcomes,” Professor Carroll said.

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

John Bell wins award
Mr John Bell AM and President and Board Chair of Diabetes Australia Mr Barry O'Farrell at Parliament House Sydney

Embed pharmacists: the answer to addressing medicine-related harm in aged care

Thursday 18 July 2019

 

Medicine-related harm in residential aged care facilities is an alarming issue – one which could be improved through embedding pharmacists according to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

 

In its submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, PSA has called for a national program that embeds pharmacists in all aged care facilities.

 

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said that residents in aged care facilities deserved to have timely and regular access to the expertise of a pharmacist if they required advice and support with their medicines and medicine management.

 

“The health of the aged care sector matters a great deal to pharmacists and many pharmacists already contribute to activities and services to improve resident safety and system changes impacting on quality and safety in aged care facilities,” he said.

 

“However older Australians, particularly aged care residents, deserve more. There must be a stronger connection between health care and aged care.”

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report showed that 98 per cent of residents in a residential aged care facility have at least one medicine-related problem and over half are exposed to at least one potentially inappropriate medicine. Pharmacists, with their unique expertise in medicines and medicine management, are ideally placed to identify and help resolve these issues.

 

“Pharmacists embedded in facilities can contribute to improving quality use of medicines facility-wide and reducing harm caused by overuse of medicines,” Dr Freeman said.

 

“It has been clear through evidence provided to the Royal Commission that we need to have pharmacists protecting patients from the inappropriate prescribing and use of medicines.”

 

In its submission, PSA also called for further actions to improve resident safety and health outcomes:

 

  • Aged care workforce education and training – pharmacists can support the aged care workforce through education and training of staff on medicines and medicine management issues;

 

  • Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMRs) – all residents in aged care facilities should have timely access to an RMMR conducted by a pharmacist;

 

  • Quality use of medicines (QUM) service – current arrangements and funding for the delivery of QUM services are inadequate. Appropriate investment must be made to prioritise QUM activities for the clinical care of residents and to improve quality and safety within aged care facilities;

 

  • Funding of Dose Administration Aids (DAA) – similar to patients in the community, residents of aged care facilities should have equitable access to subsidised DAA services when clinically warranted, or where use of a DAA is mandated by the facility.

 

Dr Freeman said the pharmacy profession was equipped and eager to contribute but pharmacists’ expertise must be recognised more broadly and their skills used across the aged care sector.

 

“Structural arrangements or funding program business rules must not hinder pharmacists from contributing their unique medication management expertise for the benefit of residents and aged care facilities,” he said.

 

“Disappointingly, pharmacists who possess unique medicines and medicine management expertise are often excluded from the delivery of healthcare services.

 

“With our submission today, we are making a commitment to all Australians, particularly those in residential aged care facilities – the pharmacist workforce is ready, willing and able to step up to improve medicine safety in our healthcare system.

 

“In aged care, the answer is simple. We call on the government to embed pharmacists in aged care facilities nationwide and remove barriers to the provision of pharmacist services.

 

“Only then can we ensure an improvement in medicine safety and optimal health outcomes for older Australians.”

 

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

Prescription medicines safety

Pharmacists’ front-line role in the quality and safe use of prescription medications

 

As the custodians of medication safety, promoting the judicious, quality and safe use of prescription medications is key to the pharmacist’s role.

 

Being an active participant in patient care, in collaboration with the patient and prescriber, requires open lines of communication and confidence when raising potential safety issues , like fitness to drive, when prescription
medications are being used.

 

This interactive, two-part program will delve into the importance of prescription medication safety, the societal impact of the misuse of medicines, and the impact that medications and substances can have on fitness to drive.

 

You’ll then apply your knowledge to patient cases studies in an interactive, group setting. You’ll gain confidence in having constructive conversations with patients and prescribers around medication safety and with a focus on opioids, sedatives and medicines that can affect cognition, and feel equipped with the knowledge and theory to support those conversations.

Click the links below to register now

  • Online module only, free for all pharmacists
  • Up to 4 Group 2 CPD
  • Combined online module & face to face workshop
  • Up to 14 Group 2 CPD
  • Includes the online module
  • $30 (for members & non-members)
  • Morning tea, lunch and course materials provided
  • Various venues across metropolitan and regional New South Wales
Delivered by experts in the area of Alcohol and Drug misuse and treatment, including:
Dr Kylie Bailey

Dr Kylie Bailey has conducted research on young people and alcohol misuse, and investigated treatment responses to
psychosocial interventions for adults who have co-existing depression, alcohol misuse and posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Kylie has graduated the University of Newcastle with a PhD (Psychiatry,) a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Master of Psychology (Clinical).

Dr Tony Gill

Tony is Senior Staff Specialist with the St Vincent’s Drug and Alcohol Service. He is the Medical Director of the Central Coast Drug and Alcohol Service and Conjoint Lecturer at the University of NSW and Newcastle University, as well as Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist at the Ministry of Health, NSW. Tony has previously worked for many years in an advisory capacity for Government, providing expert clinical advice as Clinical Director of the former Drug Programs Bureau in the Ministry of Health.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Discuss the theory and importance of prescription medication safety
  • Define fitness to drive
  • Explain the mental and physical aspects of the driving process and stages at which medications and other substances may impact fitness to drive
  • List medicines and classes of medications that may impair cognition or cause sedation, thereby impacting fitness to drive
  • Discuss the legal responsibilities of the pharmacist with regard to medication safety and fitness to drive
  • Discuss the theory of motivational interviewing and how it can be applied to patients and prescribers
  • Apply constructive conversations with patients and prescribers with regard to medication safety and fitness to drive
  • Discuss opioid replacement therapy and fitness to drive, and how patients on these treatments can be best managed.

 

Competencies (2016): 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6.

 

This program is currently undergoing accreditation and is expected to award up to 14 Group 2 CPD points upon successful completion of the online and face-to-face components.

This content is available for all pharmacists as free online modules or through combined online module & face-to-face delivery.  Click the links below for more information or to register.

Report highlights need for greater pharmacist involvement in medicine reviews

Monday 15 July 2019

 

A new report into polypharmacy highlights the need for regular medicine reviews for older Australians — a task best performed by pharmacists according to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

 

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said the report* from the University of Western Australia and University of New South Wales, highlighted the need for pharmacists to have greater involvement in medicine management.

 

“As the report states, older people are likely to be using several medicines at once, which places them at greater risk of medicine-related harm,” Dr Freeman said.

 

“It is therefore vital that all people taking multiple medicines have regular medicine reviews with the added ability for the pharmacist to follow up with the patient as clinically indicated. Pharmacists, with their unique expertise in medicines and medicine management, are the best placed to conduct these reviews to identify and resolve any issues.”

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report showed that one in five people are suffering an adverse medicine reaction at the time they receive a Home Medicines Review and 1.2 million Australians had experienced an adverse medicine event in the last six months. In addition, almost one in four older people prescribed medicines cleared by the kidneys are prescribed an excessive dose.

 

In 2017 the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global initiative to reduce severe, avoidable medicine-associated harm in all countries by 50% over the next five years. WHO identified three medicine safety areas for commitment, early action and effective management: high-risk situations, polypharmacy and transitions of care.

 

For Australia to address these issues, Dr Freeman says the pharmacy profession must be given the authority take the lead.

 

“The evidence is clear, pharmacists have significant potential to reduce the number of medicine-related hospital admissions and adverse medicine events in Australia but are prevented from doing so due to barriers in how medicine reviews are funded and the program rules governing their delivery,” he said.

 

“It is PSA’s firm view that pharmacists must be more involved in the care of patients whenever medicines are part of their health management plan, and particularly in the context of chronic disease management.

 

“Access to additional funding models, such as the Medicare Benefits Schedule, will ensure pharmacists can fulfil this vital role in Australia’s healthcare system.

 

“PSA and the pharmacy profession stand ready to work with government and consumers to ensure medicine safety is addressed for the benefit of all Australians.”

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

 

 

*Polypharmacy among older Australians, 2006–2017: a population‐based study; Amy T Page, Michael O Falster, Melisa Litchfield, Sallie‐Anne Pearson and Christopher Etherton‐Beer; The Medical Journal of Australia; published online 15 July 2019.

PSA ready to work with WA Government to expand the role of pharmacists

 

Wednesday 10 July 2019

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is ready to work with the Western Australian Government to increase the scope of pharmacists.

 

A recently-released Western Australian Health Department review of community pharmacy ownership includes recommendations to significantly increase the range of clinical services offered by pharmacists.

 

PSA WA Branch President Dr Fei Sim said this was a great step forward in acknowledging the vital role pharmacists play in Australia’s healthcare system, and their ability to do more to improve health outcomes.

 

“Community pharmacies are a valued and integral part of our communities’ health care,” she said.

 

“They can be found in most cities, towns and suburbs around Western Australia. Their location and accessibility, combined with the expertise and skills of pharmacists, makes them ideally suited to play a greater role in primary healthcare delivery.”

 

PSA’s two key reports Medicine Safety: Take Care and Pharmacists in 2023 advocate for empowering pharmacists to do more than the current healthcare system allows by harnessing their skills and expertise as medicine experts.

 

The Medicine Safety report revealed the enormity of medicine-related harm and its cost to our economy. The report found there were 250,000 hospital submissions annually as a result of medicine-related problems with an additional 400,000 presentations to emergency departments due to medicine misuse costing $1.4 billion annually.

 

“The evidence is clear, pharmacists have significant potential to reduce the number of medicine-related hospital admissions and adverse medicine events in Australia but are prevented from doing so due to barriers in fulfilling our scope of practice,” Dr Sim said.

 

“In its recommendations, the WA Government has taken the lead in recognising the potential of pharmacists and the need to expand their scope of practice.

 

“PSA and the pharmacy profession look forward to working with the WA Government on implementing these recommendations to allow pharmacists to improve healthcare access and outcomes, and reduce variabilities in care.”

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

 

PSA calls for timely implementation of real-time prescription monitoring in SA

Wednesday 26 June 2019

 

The recent South Australian Government Budget announcement to implement a real-time prescription monitoring system (RTPM) is a good step forward, but the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) calls on the government to ensure it is given high priority.

 

PSA SA/NT Branch President Robyn Johns urged the SA Government to follow through on this Budget commitment to help improve the health of South Australians.

 

“Real-time prescription monitoring was included in the state’s 2018-19 Budget but as yet we haven’t seen any progress,” she said.

 

“The 2019-20 Budget commitment of $4 million dollars to implement the system is very promising. However, timely implementation is crucial.”

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report highlighted the severity and cost of medicine-related problems. They are responsible for 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency department presentations in Australia each year, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually. At least half of this harm is avoidable.

 

“Medicine safety is a health priority and implementation of an RTPM system in South Australia will aid clinical decision making and provide an opportunity to identify and appropriately manage patients misusing specific prescription medications. In turn, this will help address medicine-related harm and ensure optimal health outcomes for South Australians,” Ms Johns said.

 

The Budget announcement states the estimated completion date of the RTPM system implementation is June 2020. PSA stands ready to engage with the government to achieve implementation within this timeframe.

 

Although PSA supports the independent work of states and territories in implementing real-time prescription monitoring systems, PSA believes this will continue to pose significant risks around interoperability across jurisdictions.

 

PSA has long advocated for the immediate implementation of a national recording and reporting system which would enable real-time monitoring to address the increase in harm resulting from inappropriate use of certain prescription medicines.

 

In 2018 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to progress a national solution where each jurisdiction develops their own system to connect with a Commonwealth system.

 

Some progress has been made with all states and territories, except NSW and WA, either implementing or setting strategies to introduce an RTPM system. Queensland is the most recent state to do so, introducing legislation into parliament in May that will enable the state’s health department to implement a mandatory RTPM system.

 

One of the key actions in PSA’s Pharmacists in 2023 report is to embrace digital transformation to improve the quality use of medicines; support the delivery of safe, effective, and efficient healthcare; and facilitate collaborative models of care.

 

“Technological improvement in pharmacist care through systems such as RTPM allows us to make full use of pharmacists’ skills and improve health outcomes.

 

“We commend the SA Government for its commitment to implementing an RTPM system, but will continue to advocate for a nationally-consistent system to enable pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to work together to protect the entire Australian population from medicine-related harm,” Ms Johns said.

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

Pharmacist-administered flu vaccination age lowered in WA

Wednesday 19 June 2019

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the move by the Western Australian Government to allow trained pharmacists to administer the flu vaccination to people aged 10 years and over.

 

PSA WA Branch President Dr Fei Sim commended the government’s decision to allow pharmacists to protect more West Australians from the flu.

 

“Allowing trained pharmacists to administer vaccines will significantly increase the immunisation rates within the community.

 

“This is particularly important as confirmed flu cases in WA are already dwarfing those of last year,” Dr Sim said.

 

As of 18 June, the WA Department of Health has advised that there have been 9016 laboratory-confirmed influenza infections in the state and 29 reported deaths. This is in comparison to 1399 confirmed infections and 4 deaths during the same period in 2018.

 

“The administration of vaccines by pharmacists complements the excellent work done by GPs, nurses, Indigenous Health Workers and other immunisers. It increases the immunisation rate and has a positive effect on people’s health in Western Australia,” Dr Sim said.

 

PSA commends the WA Government for making use of pharmacists’ expertise and training to better protect the community against vaccine-preventable diseases.

 

Media contact:
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

NSW Budget: PSA calls for expanded roles for pharmacists

Tuesday 18 June 2019

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the NSW Government’s Budget commitment to health spending, but calls on the Government to better utilise the skills of pharmacists to improve the state’s healthcare system.

 

PSA NSW Branch President Professor Peter Carroll commended the NSW Government on the addition of 880 allied health staff, including pharmacists. However he said that it is vital that NSW Health looks at the allocation of these positions across various practice settings, not just hospitals.

 

Furthermore, with record numbers of people presenting to NSW emergency departments over the last year, the Budget misses the opportunity to build on the accessibility of community pharmacies in improving consumer access to health services, particularly in regional areas.

 

“Rural and regional Australia deserve better access to health services and medicines.

 

“Community pharmacists are accessible and have the skills and expertise to create better access to medicines and health services, particularly in these regional areas.

 

“There needs to be a focus on models of care outside the hospital system to better service the needs of these communities,” Professor Carroll said.

 

The Budget announcement of a new Ageing and Disability Commissioner is a great step forward. PSA calls on the Commissioner, when elected, to support a greater role for pharmacists in the aged care sector. Pharmacists, as medicine experts, must be involved in the medication management of people living in residential aged care facilities.

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report showed that 98 per cent of residents in a residential aged care facility have at least one medicine-related problem and over half are exposed to at least one potentially inappropriate medicine. Pharmacists are best placed to improve decision making to ensure the safe and optimal use of medicines for older Australians.

 

The funding allocated to palliative care provides a great opportunity for pharmacists to have an expanded role in medicine management for palliative care patients through symptom-based care, anticipatory care and deprescribing.

 

“Embedding pharmacists into palliative care teams will improve decision making and medicine safety. Pharmacists play a vital role in medicines management and this is pertinent to palliative care patients that are managed in the community,” Professor Carroll said.

 

PSA has worked closely with the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission to develop resources and support tools, and create professional development opportunities specific to pharmacists. Now is the perfect time to embed pharmacists within NSW palliative care teams to improve decision making for the safe and appropriate use of medicines throughout all phases of care.

 

Given the Budget surplus, PSA is surprised that no funding has been allocated for a real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) system to help improve the quality use of medicines in NSW.

 

Medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency department presentations in Australia each year, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually. At least half of this harm is avoidable.

 

“Medicine safety is a health priority and it is disappointing to see that there is no investment by the NSW Government in a real time prescription monitoring system in NSW, which will aid clinical decision making and provide an opportunity to identify and appropriately manage patients misusing specific prescription medications.

 

“All states, except NSW and WA, have either implemented or set strategies to introduce a real time monitoring system. However NSW continues to fall further behind despite experience internationally and locally that when such systems are implemented they have the desired effect in reducing harm,” Professor Carroll said.

 

PSA will continue to engage with the NSW Government on these issues to help improve healthcare accessibility and optimal health outcomes for all NSW residents.

 

Media contact:   
Carly Lusk
Public Affairs Officer
0487 922 176

End the exclusion: Pharmacist access to the MBS one step closer

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce to increase the role of pharmacists to address the healthcare needs of all Australians.

 

In its submissions to the taskforce reference groups, PSA focused on inclusion of pharmacist services on the MBS to ensure pharmacists are no longer excluded from the rest of the allied healthcare workforce in the delivery of consultation based services upon referral from a general practitioner.

 

PSA’s recommendations stem from its two key reports Medicine Safety: Take Care and Pharmacists in 2023. Both reports advocate for empowering pharmacists to do more than the current healthcare system allows by harnessing their skills and expertise as medicine experts. It is PSA’s firm view that pharmacists must be involved in the care of patients whenever medicines are part of their health management plan, and particularly in the context of chronic disease management.

 

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said although the Allied Health Reference Group recommended this action in February following previous PSA submissions, there is still more work to be done. These recommendations out for consultation must make their way to the Minister for Health’s office and once and for all cease the exclusion of pharmacist access to the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

 

“PSA has advocated over many years to develop funding models to reflect pharmacists’ extensive expertise and contribution to Australia’s health. Pharmacists have been calling for access to the MBS to reflect their skills, training and experience for longer than many of us can remember.

 

“While this recommendation now exists, it is focused on long-term implementation. Given the rate of medicine-related harm being experienced by Australians and the potential for pharmacists to contribute to medicine safety and quality use of medicines, it is critical that the implementation of this recommendation is not delayed,” Dr Freeman said.

 

The inclusion of pharmacists in allied healthcare teams is particularly important for vulnerable population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

In writing to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Reference Group, PSA noted the current issues relating to medication adherence. Pharmacists can make a significant contribution to support adherence through the provision of medicine information, assessing each person’s needs and tailoring solutions accordingly.

 

Pharmacists also have a key role to play in mental health care teams. PSA supports recommendations from the Mental Health Reference Group to encourage coordinated support for patients with chronic and mental illnesses and access to mental health services in residential aged care.

 

PSA believes that pharmacists should have a role in delivering care as part of a mental health care plan, particularly where medication forms part of the patient’s treatment plan. This is particularly relevant for mental health care services in residential aged care.

 

“We look forward to continuing to work with the groups involved in the MBS Review as they undertake their consultation on these recommendations, and then working with the Minister for Health to make these recommendations a reality,” Dr Freeman said.

 

 

Media contact:   Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer – 0487 922 176

 

Friday 14 June 2019