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PSA22: Federal Health Minister announces Onsite Aged Care Pharmacist Consultation Paper

29 July 2022

 

 

The Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Mark Butler MP, has used his opening address at PSA22 to officially launch the Federal Government’s consultation paper on the Onsite Aged Care Pharmacist Program. He was joined by Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, and Rural and Regional Health, Emma McBride MP MPS.

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Dr Fei Sim welcomes the announcement and thanks the Minister for his ongoing dedication to embedding pharmacists in residential aged care facilities.

 

“The Health Minister has this morning officially launched the Aged Care Engagement Hub, which will be used for consultation with the health sector on a variety of aged care programs, including the $345.7 million commitment to embed pharmacists in residential aged care facilities.

 

“The $345.7 million commitment is the largest spend in pharmacy outside of the Community Pharmacy Agreement, and will create up to 1500 opportunities for pharmacists over the next four years.

 

Minister Butler also acknowledged that PSA’s inclusion as a signatory in the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) was a positive step forward, and committed to PSA remaining a signatory in 8CPA, which is set to begin negotiations next year.

 

“PSA is the only professional body for pharmacists in all practice settings, and it is vital that we continue to be a signatory to the Community Pharmacy Agreements and ensure that the interests of the profession are recognised.

 

The Minister also spoke to his commitment to seeing health professionals, including pharmacists,  practising to top of scope, and entrenching the role of pharmacist immunisers.

 

The Minister also thanked PSA for working with the government on the trial and roll out the Take Home Naloxone (THN) program

 

“PSA is proud to have worked collaboratively with the Federal Government to roll out the THN program nationally, and ensure we can continue to save lives from severe opioid reactions.”

 

“Assistant Minister McBride, who has been a long time PSA member, also gave a passionate speech to the opening plenary, speaking to the hugely significant role of pharmacists and the importance of allowing us to practice to top of scope. We thank for her dedication to our profession.

 

“PSA is very grateful to Minister Butler and Assistant Minister McBride for taking the time to attend PSA22 and meet hundreds of pharmacists from around the country.

 

“We’re excited to give Australian pharmacists the opportunity to hear directly from the new Minister for Health on his government’s priorities for health and for the pharmacy sector.

 

“PSA sincerely thanks Minister Butler and Assistant Minister McBride for progressing the government’s commitment to embedding pharmacists in residential aged care facilities and looks forward to working with the government to ensure the program is successfully rolled out,” Dr Sim concluded.

 

 

Media contact: Georgia Clarke 0410 505 315

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is the professional organisation of Australian pharmacists. PSA is the only government-recognised peak national body for pharmacists, representing all of the pharmacy profession in Australia.

 

PSA launches disability care report at PSA22

29 July 2022

 

Today the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has launched the fifth report in the Medicine Safety Series, Medicine Safety: Disability Care at their flagship national conference, PSA22.

 

The report outlines significant challenges to safe medicine use within the disability sector, including inappropriate prescribing, problems taking medicines, inadequate access to medication management review services, and difficulty accessing health professionals.

 

PSA’s first medicine safety report, Medicine Safety: Take Care estimated that medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions each year, with an annual cost of approximately $1.4 billion, and at least half of these hospital admissions being preventable.

 

This latest report highlights the significant difference in life expectancy in Australia, with people with intellectual disability experiencing a 20-32 year shorter lifespan.

 

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim, who launched the report at PSA22, said that more needs to be done to ensure medicine safety for Australians living with disability.

 

“Approximately 4.4 million Australians live with disability, many requiring complex medical care,” she said.

 

“PSA’s Medicine Safety: Disability Care report highlights the many barriers to safe medicine use, ranging from prescribing and dispensing, to administration, and medication management.

 

“The result is a health system that is failing Australians with disability.

 

“This report is an important step in identifying the real and significant issues patients with disability face. It is our duty, as healthcare professionals, to keep working to make care accessible and appropriate for everyone.

 

“A greater focus on medicine safety is key to addressing the health and life expectancy gap for people with disability.

 

“Pharmacists are the key, and we look forward to working with state, territory and federal governments, the disability sector, patients, and their families to improve the provision of care to Australians with disability,” Dr Sim concluded.

 

PSA’s Medicine Safety: Disability Care report is available here.

 

End of free RAT program puts vulnerable people at risk

12 July 2022

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Dr Fei Sim is critical of the Federal Government’s announcement that the COVID-19 Rapid Test Concessional Access Program would not be extended beyond July 2022.

 

Dr Sim says that this move not only puts vulnerable Australians at risk, but also sends the wrong message to the public.

 

“PSA is very concerned about the Federal Government’s plan to cease concessional access to Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) at the end of the month. It sends the wrong message to the public,” she said.

 

“The pandemic is not over, and the threat of serious illness is still there for many vulnerable people in our communities. Testing remains a vital part of our COVID-19 response.

 

“While recognising that our approach to test-trace-isolate has changed since the program was launched in January, testing with even mild symptoms remains an expectation of everyone in the community.

 

“With most states and territories adopting advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to move from a 3-month to a 28-day immunity period, access to testing will be vital, especially for vulnerable groups who’ve relied on the concessional program.

 

“Let’s not forget that case numbers and hospitalisations are still rising every single day. Governments should be encouraging more testing, not less.

 

Dr Sim also pointed out a positive RAT or PCR test was necessary for people to access antiviral medicines.

 

“A patient needs a positive COVID-19 test in order to access antiviral medicines, and for many concession card holders RATs are the only way testing is accessible.

 

“We cannot simply remove the main method of testing that’s accessible to these vulnerable groups. The result will be a lot of people not testing at all.

 

“PSA fully supports an extension of the concessional RAT program to make sure that our most vulnerable have continued access to testing when it’s needed.

 

“We also call on the Federal Government to restore funding to the COVID-19 Home Medicines Service, allowing COVID-positive patients to safely access the medicines they need from home.”

 

PSA strongly supports other important messages to help Australians stay safe, including staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, staying home when sick and wearing face masks in indoor public environments

 

 

Media contact: Georgia Clarke 0487 922 176

 

Open consultation for guidelines

Open consultation of the draft Guideline for pharmacists supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with medicines management

After an extensive development and review process, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia invites pharmacists to provide feedback on the draft Guideline for pharmacists supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with medicines management.

 

This project is an update to the previous guideline, Guide to providing pharmacy services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The updated guideline is designed to apply to pharmacists working in all practice settings and feedback is particularly invited from pharmacists who may not actively work in this space.

 

 To provide your feedback

 

  1. Review the document
  2. Use the following survey to provide commentary

 

The consultation will close at 5pm AEST on Friday 10 June.

Returning to Spirit

It is widely acknowledged that culturally appropriate and holistic health delivery systems improve health outcomes.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities are diverse. This diversity includes distinct language, kinship and cultural traditions, religious beliefs, family responsibilities and personal histories and experiences. Importantly, this diversity also extends to the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community.1

Evidence shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to access health services where service providers communicate respectfully, build good relationships, have an awareness of the underlying social issues, as well as some understanding of culture, and where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are part of the health care team.2

Given the cultural sensitivities surrounding death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is important that cultural beliefs and practices are acknowledged and accommodated during the palliative and end-of-life care journey.

 

When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, or are approaching the end of their life, they should be able to access quality palliative and supportive care that is consistent with their wishes. By engaging in culturally appropriate, safe and sensitive palliative care communication with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of your community, you can provide support in a way that meets the needs of each individual.

 

Cultural safety is everyone’s business!

A range of materials exists to assist you in your lifelong cultural learning, including education opportunities, resources and reports.

Gwandalan National Palliative Care:

The Gwandalan Project does not address clinical palliative care content but rather, supports the provision of culturally safe and responsive palliative care by upskilling frontline staff to contextualise care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and deliver services in a way which supports a good ‘finishing up’.

 

Education and training materials for the Gwandalan Project aim to support relationships between service providers, frontline staff and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities through cross-cultural education and the sharing of knowledge. This will be achieved through the provision of education and training to support increased capacity in those who care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during their palliative and end-of-life journey.

 

Access to all Gwandalan education and training materials is free of charge, thanks to funding by the Australian Government under the Public Health and Chronic Disease Care Grant, National Palliative Care Projects.

 

Final Footprints: My Culture, My Kinship, My Country:

(approximately 12 minutes). Said in their own words, four (4) interviews are held with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people representing their communities outlining different perspectives on ‘palliative care’ and death and dying’. Nations represented are Torres Strait Islands, Kaurna Narungga, Yawuru, and Narungga. This video resource was developed in collaboration with Palliative Care South Australia.

 

Having a Yarn – Final Footprints: My Culture, My Kinship, My Country:

(approximately 60 minutes). ABC presenter Dan Bourchier launches the video Final Footprints: My Culture, My Kinship, My Country (included in this video) and hosts a discussion with three highly esteemed Aboriginal people who have both ‘lived experience’ and work professionally within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to explore the importance of palliative care to our First Nations’ peoples.

 

Indigenous Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (IPEPA)

IPEPA is a grassroots approach to breaking down the barriers to palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. The program seeks to build the capacity of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to deliver palliative care, and also to support the culturally-responsive capabilities of mainstream service providers to provide holistic and safe palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Click for link

 

New IPEPA palliative care videos:

 

Indigenous Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (IPEPA) have five new videos which explore understanding around palliative care, and what happens when diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. These include:

 

Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates PCC4U (new toolkit):

Topic 2 (Australian Indigenous Peoples) and Topic 4 (Culture-centred Care) may be especially useful. Click for link

 

Also the newly-released Focus Topic 2 (Caring for Australian Indigenous peoples affected by life-limiting illness), which will help learners to develop the skills needed to provide quality care, across various settings, to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with life-limiting illness, and their families and communities. Click for link

 

caring@home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families

The aim of this project is to support the provision of palliative care at home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. When care at home is preferred, it can be provided to help connect family, culture, community, country and the spiritual wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Includes resources to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who choose to be cared for and remain at home for the final stage of their life-course. Click for link

 

Palliative Care Australia (PCA):

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) aims to improve the quality of life of all Australians living with a life-limiting illness/condition and their families, and represents all who work in palliative care services. They have developed resources to assist the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, their communities, and health professionals working within communities to ensure approaches and practises are culturally safe and respectful. Click for link

 

‘Into the Dreaming’: A Palliative Care Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through ‘Sorry Business’

This resource kit was developed in NSW to provide culturally sensitive, respectful, responsive and appropriate methods of communication when dealing with health care and Sorry Business with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Intended to help local Aboriginal communities feel more welcome in palliative care settings and start inclusive and culturally appropriate conversations about end of life planning. Click for link

 

IPEPA Resource Directory: IPEPA Culturally-Responsive Palliative Care Workshop

Resources include reading materials, videos and activities Click for link

 

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Palliative care and end-of-life portal is designed to assist the health workforce who provide care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and communities. It seeks to support both clinicians and policy-makers in accessing resources, research and projects on palliative and end-of-life care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Click for link

 

CareSearch (Flinders Uni SA)

This site brings together a range of resources and information to help the health care workforce and carers in providing palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, acknowledging that culturally safe and responsive care is an essential part of good care. Click for link

 

Queensland Centre for Palliative Care Research & Education (CPCRE)

CPCRE aims to increase health professionals’ understanding of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and families, and increase knowledge about palliative care amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers, Liaison Officers and other health professionals. Click for link

 

Palliative Care Queensland

Click for link

Includes Queensland Health’s ‘Sad News, Sorry Business: Guidelines for caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through death and dying’, researched and developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability Team. Click for link

 

Also includes a toolkit aimed at providing quality and user-friendly resources to support appropriate palliative care provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 

The Yarning about Sad News and Sorry Business – An Engagement and Consultation Toolkit was developed in collaboration with Health Consumers Queensland, gathered insights and perspectives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Queensland on engagement and consultation processes in relation to palliative care. Click for link

 

palliAGED Palliative Care Aged Care Evidence – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Includes resources which may be useful to those providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, noting that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are a diverse group of peoples, made up of many different nations and language groups. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is a living culture, made up of both contemporary and traditional practices. Click for link

 

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales (AH&MRC)

Click for link

The AH&MRC Resource Centre contains the downloadable My Journey to Dreaming Diary, which can be used by patients to keep personal and medical information in one place. Click for link

 

And also the Journey to Dreaming Toolkit, which to provide high quality information to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their healthcare workers provide family-centred palliative and end-of-life care for a loved one. It also contains some important information that might be useful for individuals needing end-of-life care. Click for link

Australian Government Department of Health Report (2019) on barriers and enablers to palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Click for link

 

Australian Institute of Health and Wellness (AIHW) Regional insights for Indigenous Communities, with statistics available by community/region

Click for link

 

AIHW data (Sept 2021) by Primary Health Network (PHN) on Practice Incentive Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending general practices

Click for link

References

  1. National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016-2026
  2. Australian Government, Department of Health 2014, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia

Actioncentre_Social media

Below are some social media tile for you to download and use. There is some sample text below you may wish to use on social media. You can include the website link https://www.psa.org.au/remuneration and don’t forget to tag PSA National and your local politician.

How can I get involved?

You can get involved by sharing these tiles on your social media (below) and either using your own text or the sample text supplied below.

Below is some sample text you may wish to use on social media. You can include the website link https://www.psa.org.au/remuneration and don’t forget to tag PSA National and your local politician.

 

 

Working Conditions and Remuneration
  1. Pharmacists must be recognised as frontline health professionals, and deserve to be remunerated accordingly.
  2. Pharmacists, like many healthcare workers, have had no reprieve throughout the pandemic. We’ve stayed open when many primary healthcare providers closed their doors. Yet, unfair and inequitable pay discrepancies continue to exist. This needs to be corrected.
  3. It’s simple, pharmacists must be paid at the same rate as any other professional for providing the same service!
Case Conferencing
  1. Pharmacists are the only allied health provider who is not remunerated for case conferencing – this is ludicrous when you consider the essential role we play as medicine safety experts.
  2. The government must address medicine safety concerns and the unfair and inequitable pay disparity faced by pharmacists, by introducing an MBS rebate for pharmacists who participate in case conferencing.
  3. Pharmacists are medicine experts and custodians of medicine safety, yet we are expected to participate in case conferencing without being paid for doing so.
COVID Vaccines
  1. The pandemic has pushed many in the profession to the brink – RAT shortages, long hours, staff shortages, abuse from patients, the risk of bring the disease home to family. At the very least, we deserve equal remuneration for administering COVID-19 vaccines.
  2. Many friends and colleagues have gone above and beyond, extending hours to open up more COVID-19 vaccination appointments. It’s not fair that we’re being paid less than half that of other vaccinators.
  3. Pharmacists have now delivered over 6 million COVID-19 vaccines – going above and beyond to help protect our communities. By paying other providers more, the government has short-changed us by more than $156 million. How is that fair?
  4. The Federal Government’s refusal to fairly remunerate pharmacists for administering COVID-19 booster vaccines is putting the entire booster program in jeopardy. The service is barely sustainable for us on the frontline!

PSA Face-to-face events policy

PSA Face-to-face events policy

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is committed to taking a proactive approach in managing and providing a safe and healthy environment for all members and visitors, so far as reasonably practicable. PSA will ensure that a Covid-19 safe plan is in place for all events and attendees made aware of the PSA Events policy for the attendance all face-to-face events.

 

The following policy will apply to all face to face PSA training and events:

 

  • All attendees will be asked to refer to the latest advice from the Australian federal, state and /or territory governments on travel and restrictions, including public health orders. You can check restrictions in all states and territories using the COVID-19 Restriction Checker.

 

  • Attendees of PSA face-to-face events must be fully vaccinated. We request that proof of vaccination is provided prior to attending any face to face event/s, unless an exemption is requested.

 

  • QR check-in is mandatory at all PSA face- to-face training and events.

 

  • Additional measures such as face coverings, alternate seating and catering arrangements may be required to meet Covid-19 safe protocols. 

 

 

  • Anyone who is unable to attend a face-to-face event or training as a result of Covid-19 must notify PSA on events@psa.org.au to determine an alternative date for attendance without penalty.

 

  • If there are any circumstances where an attendee is unable to comply with the vaccination requirements, including a medical condition, PSA requests that an exemption form be sent to events@psa.org.au at least 14 days prior to the event. PSA will assess the exemption and consider reasonable alternatives. PSA will comply with all the applicable statutes and regulations that protect the privacy of person/s and will make every effort to ensure procedurally sufficient safeguards are in place to maintain personal confidence.

Amendment to APF25 Good compounding practice chapter

The APF Editorial Board has approved an amendment to APF25 expiry date guidance (APF25, page 53). The amendment is shown underlined below.

 

“The following guidance applies to expiry dates for non-sterile compounded medicines:

  • The expiry date is 28 days or less from the date the medicine is compounded, unless otherwise specified in the APF or in a reliable stability study. An expiry date of less than 28 days may be more appropriate in some clinical circumstances.
  • The expiry date of compounded capsules or powders is 6 months or less from the date the medicine is compounded, provided the ingredients are stable in air and not hygroscopic or deliquescent.
  • If the expiry date from a reliable stability study that uses the same formulation, packaging and storage conditions as the compounded medicine differs from the expiry date guidance in the APF (longer or shorter), the expiry date from the stability study should be used.
  • The expiry date of a compounded medicine must never be longer than 6 months.
  • The expiry date of a compounded medicine must not be later than the expiry date of any ingredient.”

 

The expiry date guidance in APF digital was updated on 10 August 2021.

PSA thanks Steve Morris for his contribution

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) extends thanks to outgoing NPS MedicineWise CEO, Steve Morris, for his contribution to the pharmacy sector during his time in the organisation.

 

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman says that Mr Morris’ efforts during his tenure has made the sector a more collaborative environment.

 

“The PSA congratulates Steve for his new role as CEO of Arthritis SA, and we wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”

 

“Steve has contributed a significant amount to the profession, his leadership at NPS came at a time when there was a need for NPS to re-engage and partner with the sector which he achieved with compassion and resolve”.

 

“His endeavours have noticeably helped drive the Quality Use of Medicines agenda in Australia and he has strengthened the working relationships between health organisations.”

 

“PSA acknowledges all of Steve’s contributions through his proud pharmacy and senior executive career and looks forward to working with him in his new role and into the future.”

 

Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463