Easing the burden

Board flags easing off on CPD standards during pandemic crisis

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has acknowledged that the extra pressure on pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic would make it difficult for many to meet their annual CPD requirements.

In a release issued late last week, the Board said “The COVID-19 emergency is impacting on registered health practitioners’ CPD in various ways, including where CPD events or leave are cancelled”.

As a result, the Board indicated it would not pursue pharmacists who were struggling to complete their requirements during the impacted registration period.

“We do not want CPD requirements to take practitioners away from clinical care or cause additional concerns to practitioners already under extra pressure due to COVID-19,” it said.

“Accordingly, if a pharmacist can’t meet the CPD standard because of the COVID-19 emergency, then we won’t take any action for the registration period during which the COVID-19 emergency is in force; there will be no need to apply for an exemption”.

However, if the emergency “resolves more quickly than expected”, the Board said it may issue updated guidance about what CPD the Board would expect to be completed within the current registration period.

Meanwhile, the Board said it was holding “urgent meetings” this week with the Australian Pharmacy Council (which accredits undergraduate pharmacy programs and intern training programs) and the Council of Pharmacy Schools to identify impacts on students and interns and to identify suitable measures to support them to meet learning outcomes during COVID-19.

“The Board understands that students, interns, pharmacy program providers, clinical training providers and employers are awaiting further information and assurances during this challenging period and the Board will provide further updates as soon as possible,” it said.

“Employers of interns must continue to ensure appropriate supervision and provide interns, as much as possible, with meaningful educational clinical experiences and teaching, as well as support during what will be a challenging and difficult time.

The Board recognises that much education is likely to be ‘on the job’ and that this pandemic will expose interns to unique clinical experiences”.

For interns who may be required by employers to not attend the workplace for a period of time, the Board said it has published advice on the AHPRA COVID-19 webpage about options for completing their supervised practice hours if modifications are needed.


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