2020: a pivotal year for pharmacy

The SHPA has unveiled its new vision for realising an advanced pharmacy profession, which lists six Innovation Principles, following praise for hospital pharmacists from the Health Minister

“2020 is shaping to be a pivotal year for our profession, with unprecedented national focus on pharmacy,” said Peter Fowler, president of the SHPA.

“In a broad sense, the challenge is clear. There are 650,000 preventable hospital readmissions comprising 250,000 medicines related hospital admissions and 400,000 potentially medicines-related presentations to emergency departments each year in Australia.

“The task of improving the safe and quality use of medicines is exacerbated by ageing population, with increasing complexity in their health needs. Changes to medicines innovation, and divided funding models split between settings regardless of patient need or health service capability.”

He noted that about two thirds of new listings will go through hospital pharmacy in the immediate future.

“The new frontier in medicines include immunotherapy, gene therapies and biologicals, brings new complexity to our craft and new opportunity. SHPA looks forward to taking our seat at the table with government and hc stakeholders to ensure hospital pharmacy is front and centre at this time of great change and innovation.”

He said that he welcomed challenges to orthodox thinking evident in the diverse and dynamic program spanning mental health, opioid stewardship, digital health, leadership, teaching, deprescribing, disaster preparation and recovery, novel cancer therapies and safety across the transitions of care.

“We will be confronted by waves of disruption born of non-orthodox thinking and fashioned on emerging evidence – some will be ripples, others breakers and I expect, some giant ocean swells.

“The challenge is to be receptive to these ideas and to apply careful and logical consideration for I believe, here, we will find many answers to today’s and tomorrow’s problems as we continue individually, as teams and as an organisation to advance pharmacy and advance patient care.”

Mr Fowler launched the SHPA’s Advancing Australia’s Pharmacy Workforce, which is aimed at helping the sector deliver quality use of medicines to benefit all Australians.

As well as demonstrating how the SHPA supports its members, it also shows how the organisation fosters a broader healthcare environment in which every pharmacist can maximise their impact on patient care, the SHPA said.

The SHPA’s pharmacy innovation principles are:

  • Position all pharmacy practitioners, across all settings and in all roles, as essential to Australian healthcare.
  • Recognise and support pharmacists and technicians to operate at their fullest scope of practice.
  • Embed an Advancing Practice approach to reflective life-long learning from earliest stages of career development.
  • Establish equitable access to experiential learning for students, hospital pharmacy interns, and foundation and advanced training residents, across Australia.
  • Progress advanced and specialty roles and career opportunities for pharmacist and technicians.
  • Build and strengthen partnerships fostering innovation and research between practitioners, healthcare teams and organisations.

Health Minister Greg Hunt opened the conference, paying tribute to Australia’s “amazing” hospital pharmacists “who literally help save lives and protect lives” and “make a profound difference”.

He highlighted some of the medicines the Morrison Government has listed on the PBS, and said that given the number of hospital admissions due to medicines misadventure, “we can, and must, do better”.

He also noted that the upschedule of low-dose codeine had been broadly supported by hospital pharmacists, for which he thanked them.

“That has seen a 79% drop in overdoses in its first year of operation. That’s an incredible outcome.

“Equally, though, we have more work to do, which is why we’re making medicines safety our next national health priority.

“Related to that is the fact that in March of next year, we will be launching and commencing the next National Medicines Review. We invite you to engage, we thank you for your involvement but above all… we acknowledge your service in helping save lives and protect lives.”

Mr Hunt opened the conference following a Welcome to Country by Aleena Williams, a Yugambeh pharmacist, and her father, Ted Williams.

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