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From the desk of the editor - Introducing current ideas, perspectives and issues, to the profession of pharmacy
Issue 40: August 2005
Welcome to the August 2005 edition of i2P e-magazine.
As the “tumult and shouting” gradually subsides around the Fourth Agreement, the profession has now to take a long and hard look at itself, and simply move on.
Realistically, agreement negotiations may take up to another three months or so, but whatever is signed off will not look too favourable to community pharmacy.
Global Health News from the Internet - Pharmacy Related Links
This section of i2P aims to keep readers informed of global news that may affect pharmacy.
Readers are encouraged to share links to items of interest, by simply e-mailing the story link to the editor located at firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics can range from drug-related news, Information Technology, medical communications, medical research breakthroughs, management and marketing issues.
Because this news area is dynamic and changes daily, readers should immediately bookmark any links that they find interesting.
Response to any item is also encouraged through the "Letters (Your Say) " column.
Rollo Manning - A Regular Column Reporting the News Behind the News
* THE GOVERNMENT SETS THE PRICE
* TOO TOLERANT OF LIES
* DROP IN PBS QUESTIONED
* WHAT DO WE MEAN BY A VENDING MACHINE?
* REFRIGERATION FINDS A PROBLEM WITH QCPP
Neil Johnston - Management Consultant Perspective
Recently, I attended an invitation-only day, relating to a health workforce conference.
Ho-hum, you might say, just another day at the office.
But what made this conference so different was the mix of national, state and local area health and education leaders, who had come together to find a solution to the significant shortage of medical practitioners and nurses, about to happen over the next three to five years.
These people were policymakers, and included Phillip Davies (Deputy secretary of the Dept of Health and Aging), Professor David Lyle (University of Sydney), Brenda McLeod (NSW Chief Allied Health Officer), Professor Michael Field (University of Sydney), and many others.
The day was organised by Dr Sue Page, education director for the Northern Rivers University Dept of Rural Health (NRUDRH), who is also president of the Rural Doctors Association.
Associate Professor Deborah Schofield from NRUDRH, presented her research paper, that identified the coming practitioner shortage, and which was published by the Australian Medical Journal.
The paper has since received wide publicity through the Australian newspaper and ABC national radio.
There were no pharmacy representatives (except for myself).
Con Berbatis - A Pharmacy Researcher Perspective
Editor's Note: The fallout from the ‘730 Report’ interview on 19 July forced the Pharmacy Guild to respond quickly and strategically. The event and the Guild’s reactions provided a unique insight into the strengths of its current resources and future opportunities to use other tactics. Con Berbatis delves into the Guild’s actions in the unfolding war against the incursion of supermarkets into pharmacy and the ability of research to provide some answers.
Robert Forsythe - Globetrotting Community Pharmacist Perspective
This month’s Guild news reveals the fears of the Queensland branch president that the government may downscale investment in pharmaceutical professional services to appease AMA ‘pharmacy bashing’.
It is certainly true that the AMA have jumped on the anti-pharmacy bandwagon over recent months.
For those of us who enjoy good relationships with our local doctors it is all a bit bewildering and embarrassing.
During a recent radio interview the new AMA president even tried to argue that a paper highlighting the success of pharmacists in preventing adverse drug events was a reason why drugs should stay script only.
Annona Pearse - From a media perspective
This month I would like to pick up on the thoughts of the i2P editor, about the shortages of trained medical personnel in the future.
It got me thinking about the situation of rural and regional pharmacists and the difficulties they face with issues such as continuing education, replacement and retirement.
Given that my interest is in media and communication, I would like to examine how the delivery of health services, the role of pharmacists in such areas, and the medical professions generally, is communicated and inexorably tied up with media representations of regional and rural Australia and the associated complexities.
Chris Arblaster, PhD - A Consumer Self-Care Perspective
Consumer segmentation research can provide a win-win-win for suppliers, pharmacy and consumers.
Neil Retallick - A Friendly Society Perspective
The negotiations around the 4th Community Pharmacy Agreement continue.
From the media reports it seems that Woolworths’ push for pharmacies is unlikely to get up and the focus has shifted to the pharmacy wholesale margin. The Government wants the PBS cost downs to be shared between the pharmacies and the wholesalers, but it is having difficulty coming up with an approach. In fact, its approach seems to be that it wants the pharmacies and the wholesalers to slug it out.
Terry Irvine - Community Pharmacist Perspective
Editor's Note: Terry Irvine is a semi-retired pharmacist practising in paradise, on the far south coast of NSW. Because of his relaxed lifestyle, we have to continually stimulate him to produce regular material for i2P, but in this instance, he has self-started.
Terry is a pharmacist who has made a great contribution to his profession over the years, and despite the deserved relaxed lifestyle, he still continues to make a contribution.
The following is a transcript of what we received, and we have published it verbatim, simply because we think it reads better.
Ken Stafford - A Consultant Pharmacist Perspective
A couple of months ago I wrote wondering if pharmacy was determined to “kick an own goal” in relation to ownership matters and recently it became obvious the answer is a resounding “YES”. Flicking through our daily newspaper the following story caught my eye. A spokesperson from one of the pharmacy organisations was suggesting the use of “Pharmacy ATMs” to dispense scripts after pharmacies close at night. “You must be joking” I thought, but no this, it appears, is under serious consideration by some bodies.
Les Brener - A Digital Imaging Perspective
One of the outstanding presentations at the PMA Convention in Brisbane was by Avalon Pharmacist Terry Herfort, in which he gave an intensive analysis of the sales made from his pharmacy’s digital kiosk – the presentation is fully covered in the first AJP supplement, which also has a comparative chart of most of the current minilabs available today, as well as advice on running your department and is a “must read” for anyone contemplating the purchase of a kiosk or a minlab.
More and more pharmacies are becoming involved in the purchase of photo kiosks (as are photo specialty retailers). I am becoming aware of many stores, including mass merchants and supermarkets such as Harvey Norman, Coles and Big W climbing onto the bandwagon and feel strongly that this is even more of a reason for pharmacists to get into this market which is turning out to be self-promoting because of the consumer being made even more aware of digital photography through the huge volume of press, radio and television advertising for both cameras and printing services.
Steven Brown - An IT Security Perspective
Something that disturbs me about current health information systems (electronic and otherwise) is that their sole purpose is to gather information.
The systems are developed from the data end up to the user end.
The result of this is masses of forms that are difficult to fill in, several different databases and programs that are used to enter and retrieve information.
The core purpose of the information systems – accurate and timely information – cannot be achieved.
When forms are difficult to fill in people tend to provide less detail in order to complete them more quickly.
When several systems are used, more training is required, and most people will not utilise the full capabilities of the systems.
What amazes me is that the people on the front line are working well despite the information systems they use!
Paul O'Neill - 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.