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South Australian pharmacists welcome oral contraception access

11 April 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement of oral contraceptive pill resupply services through South Australian community pharmacies from May 2024.

 

Announced by SA Health Minister Chris Picton MP today, the Community Pharmacy Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) Resupply Services Scheme authorises appropriately trained pharmacists to resupply certain oral contraceptive pills to South Australian women* aged 17 to 50.

It is a requirement that the requested OCP was initiated by a medical practitioner or other authorised prescriber, and the patient has a history of stable continuous use for a minimum of 2 years prior to resupply through community pharmacy. Medicines included in the protocol include low and standard dose estrogen, and progestogen only contraceptive pills.

PSA South Australia and Northern Territory President Dr Manya Angley FPS said the move secures timely access to care for thousands of women.

 

“Improving the accessibility to and continuity of contraceptive medicines is essential to empower women to manage their reproduction. This program will make oral contraception more accessible to more South Australian women, particularly those in regional and rural areas,” Dr Angley said.

 

“Pharmacists are also some of the most accessible health care professionals, giving consumers safe, and equitable access to quality health care and advice as well as provision of medicines, now including approved oral contraceptive pills.”

 

Dr Angley said that pharmacists can now complete PSA’s Contraception Essentials online training module in preparation for the program’s start on 6 May 2024.

 

“PSA’s Contraception Essentials online training program is open for enrolment to support pharmacists with the required approved, high-quality education ahead of the program’s start.

 

“I strongly encourage all South Australian pharmacists to complete the PSA training program now so that services can be delivered immediately,” Dr Angley said.

 

* These services are inclusive of transgender, gender diverse, intersex or non-binary people assigned or presumed female at birth.

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

WA pharmacists welcome free influenza vaccine program

3 April 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement of state-wide free influenza vaccinations for all Western Australians, making it the second state to fund a similar program for 2024.

Premier Roger Cook and Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson announced the funded program yesterday, urging residents to get their vaccine.

PSA Western Australia President Kristian Ray MPS also encouraged the community to access their vaccine ahead of the flu season.

“Removing cost barriers and giving West Australians greater access to vaccines through community pharmacies is a welcome first step to improving vaccine uptake,” Mr Ray said.

“It’s easy to become complacent and not keep up with annual flu shots, but immunisation remains the best protection against severe influenza.

“In 2023 we only saw 32 per cent of eligible people in Western Australia get their vaccine, this year we are hoping that figure will be much higher.

“I strongly urge all West Australians to speak to their pharmacist about the influenza vaccine and whether its appropriate for you and your family this flu season,” Mr Ray concluded.

 

Free influenza vaccines for all Western Australians will be available from community pharmacists, general practitioners and Aboriginal Health Services during the months of May and June.

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

PSA again calls for permanent continued dispensing arrangements

28 March 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is again calling on governments to make continued dispensing measures permanent.

The National Health (Continued Dispensing – Emergency Measure) Determination 2023 allows Australians to access a one-off supply of their regular medicines from a pharmacist if they are separated from their medicines and cannot contact a prescriber.

Current measures are set to expire on Sunday 31 March, reducing the list of medicines accessible from 755 molecules to only 150.

PSA Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Morris said the winding back of continued dispensing measures at the end of March may leave patients without access to their medicines.

“Continued dispensing allows pharmacists to issue a single supply of a medicine when a patient cannot get in contact with their usual prescriber,” Adj. A/Prof. Morris said.

“It is a safety net to ensure the continuity of care when they can’t get see a GP.

“We’ve seen temporary continued dispensing measures introduced during natural disasters, which is important, but there are several scenarios where a permanent policy would help patients, from personal emergencies to natural disasters.

“PSA is again urging the Federal Government to work with state and territory governments to permanently protect emergency access to medicines,” Adj. A/Prof Morris concluded.

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

PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant launched for its second year

22 March 2024

 

“Creating spaces of belonging is a critical component for reconciliation in this country. Grant opportunities such as this allow us to hold this space for others to come into.”

Faye McMillan

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is proud to launch the PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant for the second consecutive year, with support from Care Pharmaceuticals and Hydralyte.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander pharmacists and interns are invited to apply for the Conference Grant, named after Wiradjuri yinaa (woman) and trailblazing pharmacist Professor Faye McMillan AM FPS.

Professor Faye McMillan is recognised as the first Indigenous Australian to hold a western degree in pharmacy in this country. She is a 2023/24 Harkness Fellow and a founding member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, and has received numerous accolades for her leadership and contribution to population health, education, equity and the community. These include PSA Pharmacist of the Year (2022), NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year (2019), and recognition as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health care and tertiary education.

Faye is a strong advocate for improving Indigenous health care across professions and is driven to help promote the participation and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within pharmacy.

PSA Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Morris says that the Grant is just one way that PSA is promoting pathways for First Nations pharmacists.

“While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples comprise 3.8% of Australia’s total population, the current proportion of registered pharmacists who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people is much lower at just 0.3%.

“As part of our commitment to supporting and helping increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in pharmacy, this grant opportunity looks to supporting the existing pharmacist workforce who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“PSA continues to proudly support Australia’s First Nations pharmacists, and foster new pathways for the First Nations pharmacists of the future,” Adj. A/Prof Morris says.

Care Pharmaceuticals and Hydralyte Marketing Manager Joan Isaac says that support for First Nations pharmacists is key.

“Care Pharmaceuticals and Hydralyte are excited to partner with PSA for the PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant. Recognising the significance of inclusivity, we acknowledge the ongoing need to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in pharmacy.

“We hope this grant opportunity represents a genuine commitment to support the existing pharmacist workforce who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”​

Expressions of interest for the PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant are open now. Visit https://www.psa24.com.au/grants for more information.

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

Thank Your Pharmacist today, more than ever

21 March 2024

Today the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) marks Thank Your Pharmacist Day, celebrating the ongoing commitment and dedication of pharmacists practising across our health system.

This year’s Thank Your Pharmacist Day theme is More than ever.

The theme acknowledges the increasing role of pharmacists across Australia’s community pharmacy network, hospitals, general practices, aged care facilities and in a diverse range of specialised practice areas.

Pharmacists are more important to the health of Australians than ever before, everywhere that medicines are used.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS encouraged all Australians to say thanks to their local pharmacist today.

“Today is an opportunity for all Australians to say thank you,” A/Prof Sim says.

“Every single Australian has benefitted from the expertise of pharmacists, whether directly or indirectly, in a pharmacy or in one of many other health settings that pharmacist advice is available in.

“More than ever, pharmacists across the country are providing medicines ensuring that Australians have access to essential care.

“More than ever, pharmacists are providing more acute common ailments management and chronic disease management services.

“More than ever, pharmacists are providing more complex medication management reviews and being embedded in more settings where medicines are used.

“More than ever, hospital pharmacists are championing the safe and effective use of medicines from inpatient bedsides to emergency departments and outpatient clinics.

“More than ever, industrial pharmacists are developing new technologies to meet the growing health needs not only of Australians, but of people right around the world.

“Pharmacists, more than ever, are actively helping to improve patient’s access to care and quality use of medicines and medicine safety.

“To every pharmacist – wherever you practise – Australia says thank you.”

​To get involved with this Thank Your Pharmacist Day, downloadable resources are available at www.psa.org.au/thankyourpharmacist

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

“Closing the gap is the responsibility of us all”

21 March 2024

Today the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) marks National Close the Gap Day, a National Day of Action to pledge support for achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity.

It is also a day to celebrate the resilience, innovation, and success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The latest Closing the Gap Annual Data Compilation Report released by the Productivity Commission in 2023 found that while 11 out of 19 socio-economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are improving, only four are on track to meet their targets.

PSA’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Practice – Community of Specialty Interest Chair and proud Nywaigi Mamu woman Chastina Heck MPS highlights the need for system-wide change to achieve better outcomes and recognition for First Nations communities.

“Closing the gap is the responsibility of us all,” Ms Heck says.

“Since the release of PSA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health care position statement last year, PSA continues to honour its commitment to advocating for equitable care for First Nations communities.

“Importantly, PSA continues calls for the permanent introduction and funding of pharmacists integrated within the primary healthcare teams of Aboriginal Health Service, as demonstrated through the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to Improve Chronic Disease Management, or IPAC Project.

“This Closing the Gap day, we call for action in funding embedded pharmacists to support both our patients and colleagues working in Aboriginal Medical Services in navigating the complex healthcare systems and related policies.

“The IPAC model is critically supported by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), recognising the essential role of quality use of medicines and medicine safety in the management of chronic conditions.

“All pharmacists practising around the country, not just in Aboriginal Health Services, have a responsibility to provide health care that is culturally responsive and safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

 

“I encourage every pharmacist to review their CPD plan and consider closing any of their own gaps in delivering culturally responsive care which is both a professional and legal requirement.

“All pharmacists can enrol and complete the free Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course, one of the growing number of educational offerings specifically designed to meet the needs of pharmacists.”

Enrolments are open for the Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course – visit Deadly Pharmacists Foundation Training Course

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

Queenslanders to have greater access to hormonal contraception through community pharmacists

15 March 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes today’s announcement from the Queensland Government, allowing trained pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception to women across the state as part of a pilot program from July 2024.

The pilot will mean women and girls aged 16 and older across Queensland can access a range of hormonal contraceptives through their local pharmacist, including:

  • oral medications – the combined oral contraceptive pill (excluding those with high estrogen dose) and the progesterone-only pill.
  • injected medication – Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate.
  • contraceptive device – the combined hormonal contraceptive vaginal ring.

 

PSA Queensland President Shane MacDonald MPS said that improving timely access to contemporary options for reproductive care is a welcome move.

“PSA’s vision is that every Queenslander has access to safe, quality, and effective healthcare through optimising the role of pharmacists. This is certainly a positive step towards achieving this,” Mr MacDonald says.

“PSA welcomes the announcement today and we look forward to continuing to work with Minister Fentiman and the Queensland Government on the education and implementation of this Pilot, as we currently do for the Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot.

“Appropriately trained pharmacists can do more to support the healthcare needs of Queenslanders, including improving access to safe and effective hormonal contraceptives.

“By leveraging the accessibility and credibility of pharmacists, this pilot will go a long way to improve equitable and timely access to reproductive healthcare, including women living in rural and remote areas where access to care is increasingly challenging.

“On the 10-year anniversary of the nation-leading Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot, the Queensland Government has shown once again its commitment to improving access to quality healthcare for Queenslanders.”

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS, who is presenting at the Women’s Health Summit in Canberra this week, calls on governments around Australia to consider how they can improve access to care.

“83 per cent of Australian women have used contraception at some point in their lives, and yet there are still significant barriers to access that need to be addressed,” A/Prof Sim said.

“We congratulate and commend the Queensland Government for their leadership and commitment to improve women’s access to contraception. Access to contraception is not a luxury, but a basic healthcare need.

“Our healthcare crisis requires all health professionals to practise to their full scope, and collaboratively, we can improve our health system’s capacity.

“I call on all governments across the country to consider measures to improve women’s access to reproductive healthcare,” she concluded.

 

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

8CPA negotiation continue, with Heads of Agreement signed

14 March 2024

 

Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon. Mark Butler MP has today announced the Heads of Agreement for the 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement (8CPA), with the intention to commence on 1 July 2024. Further details have not been finalised or publicly released.

While this does not represent the signing of an 8CPA, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS welcomes the certainty for community pharmacists and community pharmacy owners this announcement brings.

“Confidence and certainty are essential for a strong, sustainable community pharmacy network,” A/Prof Sim said. “We congratulate the Guild and the government for reaching Heads of Agreement which will provide confidence to the industry.”

A/Prof Sim highlighted that PSA’s broad membership base, as well as custodianship of practice standards, guidelines and ethics for the profession will be crucial in coming months as the details of pharmacy agreements are finalised:

“While there is still work to be done on the substance of the 8CPA, PSA remains committed to growth in funded professional services and continues to approach negotiations with this intent.”

“PSA maintains that professional elements are critical to any agreement and continue to advocate for scope of practice expansion informed by evidence and driven by best practice standards and guidelines.”

As negotiations for the 8CPA and other arrangements continue, PSA continues to engage in good faith with the government regarding professional pharmacist programs.

“PSA continues to champion programs to improve quality use of medicines and medicine safety, consistent with the National Medicines Policy, throughout discussions with government.

“I can reassure pharmacists and patients that Home Medicines Reviews, Residential Medication Management Reviews and Quality Use of Medicines services continue to be funded ongoing in the forward estimates.” A/Prof Sim noted.

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

Thanking your pharmacist is more important than ever

13 March 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is proud to announce the 2024 theme for Thank Your Pharmacist Day – More than ever.

More than ever highlights pharmacists’ growing role in Australia’s health care system, and the enduring commitment of pharmacists in all practice areas and specialisations to quality, accessible care.

Thank Your Pharmacist Day is celebrated annually in March, bringing together patients, community leaders and stakeholders from across the health sector to acknowledge the vital work of Australia’s pharmacists.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS said that support for pharmacists, across all practice areas and specialisations, was more important than ever.

“Our profession is doing more to support the health and wellbeing of Australia than ever before,” A/Prof Sim said.

“We are accessible in communities, offering more services, delivering more vaccinations, and making critical medicines more accessible to all Australians regardless of where they live. In many states and territories, we are strengthening access to oral contraceptives and treatments for uncomplicated UTIs, and in some parts of the country, providing more care for minor skin conditions.

“We are providing more medication management reviews, and supporting multidisciplinary care in general practice, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, and aged care facilities. We are supporting the quality use of medicines in hospitals, working with doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals in a range of settings—from inpatient bedsides to emergency departments and outpatient clinics.

“Each of these roles and the countless other specialist areas of practice are critical to the future of our health care systems.

“Thank Your Pharmacist Day is an opportunity for all Australians to consider all the ways in which pharmacists support our health. I strongly encourage all Australians to thank their pharmacist every time you visit a pharmacy, but especially on the 21st of March – national Thank Your Pharmacist Day.”

 

Thank Your Pharmacist Day is celebrated on 21 March 2024.

For more information visit www.psa.org.au/thankyourpharmacist

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

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. 

 

PSA is hosting a LIVE WEBINAR Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention in Older Adults Amidst Expanding Vaccine Landscape on Wednesday 20 March at 7pm AEDT. Registrations are essential – visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2fW5xOFBS2agw_W8b1J9Cw#/registration