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Vaping reforms to protect a new generation from nicotine dependence

8 May 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) joins leading health bodies and the Federal Government in calling for reforms to the sale, supply, manufacture and commercial possession of vapes to pass Parliament.

 

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said Australians do not want to see a new generation of Australians taking up smoking or vaping.

 

“PSA unreservedly supports any measure that reduces the chance of children and young people accessing vapes and support Australia’s world leading approach to tobacco control,” A/Prof Sim said.

 

“Our priority focus in public health messaging and in policy should continue to be on the harms of cigarette smoking and vaping, particularly to young people and children.

 

“Ensuring convenience stores do not sell vapes and removing the colours and flavourings that appeal to young people are the first steps to reducing the harm of nicotine vapes.

 

“There are no nicotine vaping products on the market that have been tested and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as safe therapeutic goods, but there are pathways for vaping products to be used as a genuine smoking cessation tool with the support of healthcare professionals.

 

“We need to be clear that vaping is not a ‘safe’ alternative to smoking – we’re already seeing scary short-term effects, not to mention the long-term effects that may emerge in the coming years.

 

“Accessing vaping products through a health professional gives pharmacists the opportunity to provide broader health and smoking cessation support.”

 

PSA is already assisting government with minimising the impacts of vaping in the community.

 

A/Prof Sim said: “PSA is supporting pharmacists across Australia with education and training about our role in vaping and smoking cessation.

 

“There is more work to be done to limit the harm caused by vaping and inhaled nicotine use in general. PSA continues to work with the Federal Government, the Department of Health, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and other stakeholders to ensure that pharmacists have all necessary resources and education to support vaping reform,” A/Prof Sim concluded.

 

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

‘Placement poverty’ affecting future of health sector workforce

6 May 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is pleased to see the Federal Government taking action to relieve cost of living pressure on students undertaking mandatory unpaid placements as part of their studies but warns that students in pharmacy and other allied health professions are being left behind.

 

Students studying pharmacy and paramedicine are among thousands who will fall outside of today’s announcement, with unpaid clinical placements forcing some to give up their education altogether.

 

Under accreditation requirements, pharmacy students are required to undertake clinical placements as part of their course of study.

 

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said that the government’s recognition of the strain unpaid placements has on students is the first step, but more needs to be done.

 

“Clinical placements are a valuable part of the learning experience, but they cannot come at the expense of our student’s livelihoods,” A/Prof Sim says.

 

“Training the next generation of pharmacists, I see first-hand the pressure unpaid placements put on our students. I’ve seen pharmacy students forced to give up paid work, struggle to make ends meet, and worryingly, drop out of their degrees altogether.

 

“Many placement sites and pharmacist preceptors also do not get any funding to host placement students.

 

“Pharmacy students and the pharmacy profession require support to continue to meet the growing future health needs of Australians. We need more people to pick pharmacy as their career choice, and that support must start now.

 

“All students undertaking compulsory unpaid placements, including pharmacy students, deserve access to government support.

 

“I urge the Federal Government to revisit this policy and offer the same financial support to all health students who are required to undertake clinical placements as part of their studies.”

 

National Australian Pharmacy Students Association (NAPSA) President Bano Serhan echoed calls for pharmacy students to have access to support.

 

“The government has acknowledged that placement poverty deeply affects students, and this is no different for our members,” she says.

 

“Pharmacy students are being left behind in the budget, at a time when they need more support to build a better and more diverse healthcare workforce.”

 

 

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

NAPSA contact: Sebastian Harper    M: 0437 926 889  E: treasurer@napsa.org.au

NIP Vaccination in Pharmacy expansion improves equitable access to vaccines

20 April 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Albanese Government’s expanded funding for National Immunisation Program Vaccination in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) program in aged care and disability homes from 29 April 2024, actioning one of PSA’s key recommendations in its 2024-25 Federal Budget Submission.

 

Ahead of World Immunisation Week beginning 24 April 2024, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Hon Mark Butler MP, has announced that pharmacists will be funded to deliver National Immunisation Program vaccines to some of Australia’s most vulnerable priority population groups.

 

The Minister has also announced that NIPVIP payments will also be indexed in line with Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) indexation from 1 July 2024.

 

PSA Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Morris welcomed the move, which PSA – as the only peak body representing all of Australia’s 37,000 pharmacists – has been advocating for, to expand access to funded vaccination services to all pharmacists practising in all locations.

 

“The expansion of the National Immunisation Program Vaccination in Pharmacy program to include pharmacists practising in residential aged care facilities and in disability care will drastically improve the specialised care pharmacists provide to these patients,” Adj. A/Prof Morris said.

 

“PSA has been supportive of increased investment in pharmacist vaccination services, supporting the delivery of ‘all vaccines, to all ages, in all locations’ – and therefore, pharmacists welcome this announcement.

 

“It means pharmacists can deliver more services to the priority groups who are the most heavily reliant on vaccines.

 

“We are continuing to work with governments across Australia on improvements to the accessibility of vaccination services for all Australians ahead of the winter flu season.”

 

Adj. A/Prof Morris also welcomed the confirmation of service payment indexation in line with indexation of MBS service payments.

 

“Lifting remuneration to meet the rising costs of service delivery allows pharmacists to continue delivering critical vaccination clinics,” he said.

 

“Pharmacists continue to be some of the most accessible vaccination providers, supporting increased vaccination coverage around the country. Adequate pharmacist remuneration is critical to ensuring that these essential services delivered by pharmacists can be delivered sustainably, which ultimately protects and maintains equitable access to vaccination services for all Australians.”

 

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

Victorian floods highlight urgent need for permanent continued dispensing

10 January 2024

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Victorian Government’s move to expand continued dispensing measures in response to widespread flooding in Central Victoria.

The introduction of Public Health Emergency Order 25 today aligns with the Commonwealth Government’s National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination made in December 2023, and expands access to more than 750 PBS-listed molecules for people in emergencies who cannot access their prescription or get in touch with their regular prescriber. The Order is set to expire in February.

PSA Victoria President Dr Amy Page FPS welcomed the Emergency Order, saying that it allowed pharmacists to continue supporting patients with their health.

“Continued dispensing plays a crucial role in maintaining the continuity of care for patients, particularly in natural disasters where people can be separated from their medicines. We know that this only becoming more common with the effects of climate change.

“The temporary expansion of continued dispensing is vital in ensuring that Victorians can access their essential medications without unnecessary delays or interruptions during the current floods.

“We cannot wait for natural disasters to happen before we put measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities. Making continued dispensing arrangements permanent for all medicines, for example, would allow pharmacists to take a proactive role in the post-disaster health of their communities.

“I urge anyone who cannot access their medication for whatever reason to speak to their local pharmacist. We are here to help,” Dr Page concluded.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS again urged the Federal Government to work with state and territory governments to permanently protect emergency access to medicines.

“Regulations should be in place to support the safe and effective use of medicines, not hinder access to them,” Dr Sim said.

 

“Our nation’s fragmented approach is affecting the care we can provide patients, preventing continued access to essential medicines and disrupting care when people are already vulnerable to further illness.

 

“PSA firmly believes that all PBS General Schedule medicines should be permanently included in continued dispensing arrangements to avoid delays in emergency situations.

 

“I urge all state and territory leaders to implement permanent continued dispensing measures, giving all Australians equal access to the medicines they need in an emergency,” Dr Sim concluded.

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

Pharmacists relieved at reinstatement of expanded continued dispensing, but again call for it to be permanent

22 December 2023

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the new Continued Dispensing Emergency Measure Determination issued by the Federal Government yesterday, supporting Australians affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.

The new determination allows pharmacists to provide patients with up to one month’s supply of 755 different Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines (up from 150 medicines) if they are unable to access their prescription or prescriber in an emergency situation. The determination takes immediate effect.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS welcomed the move but again urged the Federal Government to make it a permanent.

“While this decision is welcome relief for patients and pharmacists in disaster affected areas, PSA has long advocated for the permanent expansion of continued dispensing nation-wide,” Dr Sim said.

“Every time there is a disaster, the government extends or reinstates this measure. However, this always takes a few days, and leaves patients without access to their medicines when they need them most. It is time to make it permanent.

“Regulations should be in place to support the safe and effective use of medicines, not hinder it. It makes no sense these measures expire after each natural disaster passes.

“With the effects of climate change making natural disasters harsher and more frequent, we know that these threats will continue.

“Not all emergences are natural disasters. Whether it be bereavement, domestic violence, house fire or car crash, the sad reality is that people are suddenly separated from their medicine in other emergencies.

“Permanently expanding the medicines covered by continued dispensing arrangements is necessary to give Australians peace-of-mind that no matter what, they will always be able to access to the medicines they need,” Dr Sim concluded.

 

This measure was also recommended as part of PSA’s 2023-24 Federal Budget Submission. Find the full submission here.

Help shape the pharmacy workforce of the future – PAMELA Workforce survey open now

18 December 2023

 

The Pharmacy in Australia: Measuring Employment, Labour decisions and Activity (PAMELA) pharmacist workforce survey has been launched this week by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), with support from The University of Queensland.

The survey captures current and future dynamics of the Australian Pharmacy Workforce, including trends in job history, income, career plan, professional commitment, and job satisfaction to help foster a better understanding of workforce decisions.

In launching the survey, PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS encourages all pharmacists, at all career stages and across practice areas, to complete the PAMELA survey.

“Decisions around work patterns are complex, and take into account pay and conditions, but also family and personal circumstances, location and professional roles,” Dr Sim said.

“The results of the PAMELA project will help the sector better understand what is motivating pharmacists to make their work decisions, and how policy change can enhance job satisfaction and promote work-life balance across the profession.

“PSA consistently advocates for a national approach to health workforce planning, including measuring trends and the impact of the pharmacist workforce on health outcomes, to support workforce capacity into the future.

“Ensuring that we can continue to meet the future healthcare needs of our ageing population requires understanding our workforce now, so that we appropriately plan for the future.

Professor Lisa Nissen FPS, part of the University of Queensland’s research team supporting the PAMELA project, said that pharmacy schools are also supporting the survey by alerting alumni to the survey.

“Anyone with a pharmacy degree, even if they are not registered or practising, is invited to participate so that we can better understand why some people choose to leave the profession,” Prof. Nissen said.

“It is just as essential to know why people leave the profession for other opportunities or careers, as why they stay.

“Pharmacy schools are training the pharmacists of the future – we need to better understand workforce trends in order to adapt our curriculum to be relevant to the changing practice of pharmacy.”

The PAMELA survey can be accessed here.

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

Early CPC24 registrations open now

17 November 2023

 

Early bird registrations are now open for next year’s Credentialed Pharmacist Conference (CPC24) taking place in Cairns from 3-5 May 2024.

Delegates who register before 24 February save up to $145 on conference registration, which includes access to all education sessions, conference catering, and supplier exhibition, as well as tickets to the Welcome Reception and Supper Club social functions.

The first 100 registrations will also go into the draw to win back their ticket cost.

CPC24 Conference Chair Debbie Rigby AACP-FPS invited credentialed pharmacists to immerse themselves in a weekend of advanced clinical education.

“CPC24 is a must-attend conference for credentialed pharmacists and those undergoing accreditation,” Ms Rigby said.

“I have the pleasure of chairing the program committee and we have a great mix of speakers and topics, all relevant to what we do for medication reviews in various settings. We have some sessions that will provide updates on programs, as well as therapeutic topics and workshops.

“Whether you are a PSA member or not, CPC is an opportunity to immerse yourself in advanced clinical education and share time with friends of colleagues. I can’t wait to see you there,” Ms Rigby concluded.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS reaffirmed PSA’s commitment to supporting credentialed pharmacists, highlighting the high calibre of education expected at CPC.

“The CPC24 program is curated by credentialed pharmacists, for credentialed pharmacists,” Dr Sim said.

“CPC brings together hundreds of pharmacists from around Australia to connect and engage with high-quality education, practical knowledge and skills that can be immediately applied to practice.

“Each session is led by renowned experts and industry leaders who share their insights, experiences and knowledge, providing delegates the chance to learn from the best.”

Early bird registrations are now open for PSA’s Credentialed Pharmacist Conference (CPC24).  The full program and registrations are available here.

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

Launch of new PPS Quality Improvement and Self-Assessment Implementation Program

14 October 2023

 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has today officially launched the Professional Practice Standards Quality Improvement and Self-Assessment Implementation Program to help pharmacists better understand and implement the standards into their practice.

 

The Implementation Program enables pharmacists to identify their individual scope of practice and the Standards relevant to them, as well as self-assess against these.
Upon completing the program, pharmacists are provided with a tailored action plan to help them improve their practice.

 

Speaking at the Western Australia Annual Therapeutic Update in Perth, PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS strongly encouraged pharmacists to take advantage of the Quality Improvement and Implementation Program to improve their practice.

 

“When we launched the new Professional Practice Standards earlier this year, we knew that it would fundamentally change the way pharmacists interact with and apply professional standards to their own practice,” Dr Sim said.

 

“Our Implementation Program allows each pharmacist to take an individual approach to applying the Standards in practice, no matter what our area of practice or specialisation.
“Self-assessing performance against these standards allows all of us to better our practice, and to deliver better care to all Australians.

 

“As pharmacists’ scope of practice continues to evolve, it is vital we continually assess our own performance and whether we are consistently enabling the delivery of safe, high-quality, reliable, and clinically effective healthcare services.

 

“I encourage all pharmacists, in all areas of practice and in all career stages to make the most of the Professional Practice Standards Quality Improvement and Self-assessment Implementation Program as a contemporary, evidence-based resource to guide their quality professional practice.

 

“By incorporating these standards into daily practice, pharmacists will ensure safe, effective and person-centred care for all Australians,” Dr Sim concluded.

 

The launch of this interactive program reaffirms PSA’s dedication to supporting pharmacists to provide top-quality healthcare services to the community. PSA remains committed to equipping pharmacists with the knowledge and tools they need to excel in their roles and improve patient outcomes.

 

The Professional Practice Standards, the implementation program, and more are available at https://www.psa.org.au/practice-support-industry/pps/

 

 

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

Toward Pharmacists in 2030: Launch of Consultation Paper

25 September 2023

 

 

This World Pharmacists Day, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has launched consultation for its primary future vision report Pharmacists in 2030 due for release next year.

Pharmacists in 2030 will follow on from PSA’s Pharmacists in 2023 report to set the agenda for the next 6 years, empowering pharmacists to meet the changing needs of Australians and our health system.

 

PSA invites pharmacists, industry stakeholders, and the broader Australian community to provide invaluable feedback on the future of pharmacy through the Pharmacists in 2030 consultation process. It is an opportunity to participate in the creation of a plan that will not only guide the future of the profession, but also contribute to a healthier, more accessible healthcare system for all.

 

Alongside the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) President Mr Paul Sinclair MPS and other pharmacy leaders in addressing the opening plenary of the International FIP World Congress this morning, PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS said Australia’s healthcare system is under unprecedented pressures, exacerbated by the evolving health needs of our aging population.

 

“Building on the success and momentum of Pharmacists in 2023, now is the time to look forward to 2030 and set an even more ambitious plan for the profession,” Dr Sim said.

 

“Too many Australians are being left behind in a health system which increasingly disadvantages those who live in rural and remote areas and those who cannot afford to fund their own health care.

 

“The future we see is one where access to care safe and equitable for all Australians by utilising the expertise of pharmacists.

 

“Pharmacists are the solution to a stronger health system.

 

Pharmacists in 2030 will look at the roles pharmacists of the future can play to support patients at all stages of care. To ensure sustainability, these roles must be supported with recognition and remuneration.

 

“Our vision for Pharmacists in 2030 involves all pharmacists, in all specialist areas of practice from community to hospital to credentialed to general practice and beyond, to be empowered to work to their top and full scope of practice. This is the foundation of our pharmacists’ future.

 

“Building this vision requires the collective input and wisdom of all stakeholders, from pharmacists to government, peak bodies, private industry, and, most importantly, the patients and consumers we serve.

 

“Together, we can continue to shape the future of pharmacy and make a meaningful difference to the health of our communities.”

 

To join the conversation and share your insights, visit www.psa.org.au/pharmacistsin2030

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