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- Issue 81: April 2009
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PSA Press Releases

Peter Waterman
The Latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Issue 80: March 2009
Page: 1 of 1 Author's Profile | Send to a Friend | Printer Version

PSA News - the latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists.
This Month:

 * The Joint Approach to Development of the Pharmacy Profession

 * Focus on Greater Consumer Involvement in Health Care Welcomed

 * Pack Medications Ready for Possible Evacuations

 * Accreditation a National First for PSA

 * Help for Pharmacists Hit by Bushfires

 * A New Pharmacy Self Care

The Joint Approach to Development of the Pharmacy Profession

There has been recent public discussion as a result of the Neil Naismith Memorial Lecture in Victoria concerning the processes involved in the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA). This has prompted the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia to clarify its position in the future negotiating process.

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Mr Warwick Plunkett, said the PSA and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia now had a stronger and more meaningful relationship than in the past, particularly regarding the 5CPA.

“While there is much substance in the key points made at the lecture, including the need for financial sustainability of service provision and infrastructure support, the criticism of the dominant role played by the Pharmacy Guild in the CPA process is now outdated and therefore misplaced,” Mr Plunkett said.

“Having recently signed an agreement on principles of cooperation, there now exists a much more meaningful and equitable partnership between the PSA and the Guild for the CPA negotiating process.

“Given that the Guild has the legislative authority over carriage of the CPA, and that the Part B professional services component of the Agreement is minor, the PSA representation of one third of the Negotiating Committee membership seems appropriate.”

Mr Plunkett said the current arrangement also clearly reflected the desire of both organisations to maintain a united front in their negotiations with Government to deliver the best outcome for the profession and the public.

“There should be no doubt that the pharmacy organisations need to get together and develop an agreed long-term strategy for the development of sustainable professional services in the future.

“Without such a blueprint to map our way forward, decisions on the development and implementation of cognitive services will tend to continue to be ad hoc and independent of each other.

“This issue is high on PSA's agenda to progress over the next few months and I hope it will be well received and debated in the pharmacy profession in due course,” Mr Plunkett said.

Focus on Greater Consumer Involvement in Health Care Welcomed

The focus on consumers taking greater responsibility for their health care as outlined in the interim report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

The Commission’s report, A healthier future for all Australians, urges the Government to implement policies that assist consumers to become more aware of the health-care system and how they can best utilise it in the management of their own health.

The Vice-President of the PSA, Dr Shane Jackson, said the report clearly identified the need for more involvement at the consumer level.

“Pharmacists are ideally positioned to assist people with informed self care,” Dr Jackson said.

“The report has a very strong consumer focus and calls for access to evidence-based, consumer-friendly information that supports people in making healthy choices and in making decisions about their use of health services.

“The PSA recognised this as a priority 22 years ago when it established the Pharmacy Self Care program which is the most successful – and longest running – professional support program in pharmacy inAustralia.”

Dr Jackson said that in its Budget submission for the 2009-10 Budget, PSA had called for the national roll-out of the Pharmacy Self Care program “which will help deliver substantial savings to the Australian Government,” Dr Jackson said.

“PSA believes that the increased emphasis on professional services in pharmacy will greatly assist consumers to better manage their own health care and PSA considers there is a broader role for pharmacists in the expansion of primary health care.

“PSA believes that enhanced pharmacy services should ideally be accessible to the public from within the proposed comprehensive primary health care centres.”

The Commission’s report also called for systems such as a ‘person-controlled’ electronic personal health record and Dr Jackson said pharmacists were well positioned to support the implementation of such a system.

“The Commission’s report is an interim one and the PSA will be responding with a submission highlighting the role it sees for pharmacists in the future health and welfare of all Australians,” he said.

Pack Medications Ready for Possible Evacuations

Residents in areas still under threat from bushfires, floods or other dangers have been advised to pack essential medications and prescriptions and keep them handy in case they have to evacuate their homes.

The Vice-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Dr Shane Jackson, said people living in areas still under threat from bushfires or floods should be aware of the need to pack their medications ready for any possible evacuation.

“Keeping their medication supply going is very important in maintaining their health and in keeping some serious medical conditions under control,” Dr Jackson said.

“If people plan ahead they can have their supplies ready to take with them if they need to leave their homes.

“Keeping their medication supply, and prescriptions if possible, with other items to be taken during an evacuation is a good planning move during these tragic events.

“Residents should also try to pack their Medicare card and a basic first-aid kit, along with bottled water.”

Dr Jackson said those who were forced to evacuate their homes without packing their medications should contact a pharmacy to discuss their situation and organise emergency supplies.

Medicare Australia has introduced emergency measures to help victims of the disasters who have lost their Medicare cards and clinical assistance is also available from the National Prescribing Service Consumers Medicines Line on 1300 888 763

Accreditation a National First for PSA

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has announced that the Pharmaceutical
Society of Australia (PSA) is the first Australian pharmacy organisation to be
authorised to accredit providers of continuing professional development (CPD).

APC has been assigned the accreditation functions for pharmacy under the
National Registration and Accreditation Scheme to be introduced 1 July 2010.

In the move towards national consistency, APC has for some years been involved
in developing a process for the recognition of CPD and in particular the continuing
education aspect. The APC resolved to authorise appropriately qualified
organisations to accredit providers of CPD on its behalf.

Announcing the accreditation, President of the APC, Mrs Elizabeth Frost, said CPD
was an important part of maintaining the skills and responsiveness of the

“Continuing professional development also ensures the continuing quality and
safety of pharmacy services for the Australian community,” Mrs Frost said.

“The PSA has successfully passed all the requirements for authorisation and an
independent, internationally based, reviewer has verified the decision made by the

President of the PSA, Mr Warwick Plunkett, said the accreditation was recognition
of the PSA’s strength in, and commitment to, continuing professional development.

“PSA is the premier pharmacy industry education provider and has long been one
of the driving forces in the development and delivery of CPD. This accreditation will
further the Society’s involvement in this critical aspect of pharmacy in Australia.”

PSA will accredit CPD providers while delivering its own CPD programs. The APC
has authorised PSA to accredit CPD providers for a period of up to three years and
will conduct quality assurance and improvement audits throughout the period.

The continuing education component of CPD can be accredited and allocated
through points or hours.

The pharmacy registering authorities of Australia aim to ensure the ongoing
competence of pharmacy registrants. Completion of CPD delivered by an
accredited provider will be recognised by pharmacy registering authorities as an
indicator of efforts made to maintain competence and, where appropriate, to
satisfy re-registration requirements.

Help for Pharmacists Hit by Bushfires

Pharmacists and their families affected by t he bushfires in Victoria have access to
support and counseling services offered by the Pharm aceutical Societ y of Victoria

The Vice-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Shane Jackson, said the
tragic circumstances of the fires in Victoria are cause for all Australians to assist where
they can to support those affected by the fires.

The PSV’s Pharmacist Support Service is a service which has been in operation for 14
years and offers support for pharmacists in t imes of stress.

In addition to the Pharmacist Support Service, the PSV’s Benevolent Fund is available to
assist pharmacists who may need financial assistance to help recover from the fires.

Chair of the Pharmacist Support Service, Michael Scavone, said the tragic f ires in
Victoria had affected a number of pharmacists and their families.

“These services are there to help during times like these and the Support Service is
operated 24 hours a day by volunteer pharmacists who have been trained in telephone
counselling,” Mr Scavone said.

“The volunteers listen to the problems and assist the distressed callers t o find
appropriate expert advice when it is needed.

“These volunteers are support ed by an extensive network of professional counsellors
and support groups.”
Mr Scavone said having other pharmacists to talk to was a great source of comfort for
those pharmacists devastated by the fires.
“These counsellors understand the issues and problems particular to t he pharmacy
profession and can help steer those affected to the best possible sources of advice,” he
“The service is there t o help and the fund is available to provide financial assistance
where applicable to assist these pharmacists to get back on their feet.
Mr Scavone said the counsellors had been alerted to the specific circumstances that
might affect a pharmacist in the fires and were ready to help with the right advice.
“I urge any pharmacist affected by this tragedy to contact the Pharmacists Support
Service on 0419 222 656,” he said.
The chairman of PSV, Mark Feldschuh, said that depending on the circumstances, the
PSV Benevolent Fund, established to help pharmacists in need, may be used to assist
pharmacists financially.

A New Pharmacy Self Care

A new Pharmacy Self Care membership package has been launched to provide
more value to members as well as greater access to the program’s resources for
members and their staff.
The new package will also encourage greater use of the program’s key
resources, most particularly the Fact Cards and inPHARMation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the PSA, Bryan Stevens, said the new package
addressed a number of important areas, including the issue of ‘out-of-date’ Fact
Cards being stored and used in pharmacies.
“The new Pharmacy Self Care makes the program more competitive in an
increasingly competitive health information and health education environment,”
Mr Stevens said.
“In addition, it facilitates the greater use of the program across the pharmacy
team, to the benefit of all pharmacy consumers.”
Mr Stevens said Pharmacy Self Care members were already enjoying the
benefits of the improved system through the incorporation of the supply of all
Fact Cards into the membership.
“What this means is that members no longer have to order and pay separately for
Fact Cards,” Mr Stevens said.
“This has never been done before in the program and will allow for greater
access and greater use of pharmacy’s most-recognised health information
“Another innovation has been to address the need and demand for more hard
copies of inPHARMation.
“Members now receive two copies of inPHARMation each month, doubling the
opportunity for staff members to get their hands on the publication and access
the wealth of information it contains.”

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