Ending the year in style

Kristen Michaels

A successful conference and a series of honours have rounded off a busy, but successful, year in hospital pharmacy says Kristin Michaels, SHPA CEO

With the end of 2016 fast approaching, SHPA has hit its stride with new announcements, developments and events coming thick and fast in the final months of the year. 

Even though hospital pharmacists and pharmacists in other healthcare settings are vastly outnumbered by community-based pharmacists, attendance at our annual Medicines Management conference continues to exceed expectations as our members, and others, demonstrate their appetite for high quality presentations from their peers. With more than 900 attending each day, Medicines Management 2016, the 42nd SHPA National Conference was one of the largest pharmacy conferences held in Australia this year.

During the three days of the conference, there were presentations from international experts on medication safety, on the impact of emerging treatments on new models for pharmacy care and evaluations of existing methods, all designed to make sure we continue to provide the best patient care available. This focus on continuous improvement is one of the most powerful drivers of innovation in hospital pharmacy.

Among the highlights of the Conference were presentations of SHPA’s three major annual awards. Debbie Rigby received the Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award for her ongoing contribution to clinical pharmacy and Kate Richardson was presented with the SHPA Medal of Merit for “outstanding contributions to hospital pharmacy at local and national levels”. The prestigious Fred J Boyd Award was presented to Adjunct Associate Professor Debra Rowett for her “leadership and research excellence”. 

The recipients of these three awards, throughout their careers, have demonstrated that hospital pharmacy continues to be the source of many innovative approaches to the design and delivery of pharmacy services, and this year’s recipients embody our values as progressive, passionate and patient-centred practitioners.

Within the context of great innovation, an ongoing challenge for Australia is finding a model to appropriately remunerate the delivery of services outside the hospital environment. Home Medicines Reviews and Residential Medication Management Reviews were borne from hospital-led initiatives for many years before being taken up by the community sector.

Other innovations have included additional support for patients being discharged from hospital, a process that can be neglected when there is minimal funding for pharmacy services. SHPA is keen to see the outcomes of the Tranche 1 projects from the Pharmacy Trial Program focusing on the transition from hospital discharge to community pharmacy care.

Most recently SHPA has been pleased to see the contribution of hospital pharmacists in driving quality improvements recognised through the 19th Annual Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Quality Improvement Awards.

The Clinical Excellence and Patient Safety award was won by a multidisciplinary team from Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital (NSW) credited with an impressive improvement in the documentation of best possible medication histories on medication management plans initiated by pharmacists, doctors and nurses across the hospital.

King Edward Women and Newborn Health Service are also to be congratulated with a Highly Commended recognition for their collaborative team approach to reducing medication-related problems.

Other entries included Hospital Pharmacists working to improve antimicrobial stewardship at the Prince of Wales and Royal Darwin Hospitals, and to decrease the incidence of deep vein thrombosis at Melbourne Health. SHPA congratulates all those acknowledged for their efforts to drive clinical excellence and improve patient safety.

Evidence for the value of an investment in pharmacy in hospitals and other healthcare environments has long been growing. As Australia’s ageing population increases, pressure also increases on the healthcare system as it rallies to support a greater number of people with complex and chronic diseases. Hospitals are obviously a key destination for acute patients, but pharmacists in all settings have the opportunity to play an important role.

Greater utilisation of the clinical skills of pharmacists in a broader range of settings is key to the achievement of better health outcomes for the wider community. The whole of Australia could benefit immensely if we cast aside traditional barriers between the health care delivered within hospitals and the healthcare delivered within the community. Integrated healthcare and a wider scope for hospital pharmacists to contribute would be the cornerstone for large gains in health outcomes.


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