‘Extraordinary’ response of hospital pharmacists in 2020

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“Their passion and spirit has been on full display”: SHPA praises workforce in latest Annual Report

Hospital pharmacists and technicians across the country stepped up during what has been an extraordinary year, said the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia in its Annual Report summary.

The report was released on Wednesday following SHPA’s virtual Annual General Meeting and Congress held last week.

From mid March to April, when the threat of Covid-19 was most urgent, the organisation saw more than 900 pharmacists sign up to SHPA Hospital Pharmacy Relief Register.

More than 1000 accessed its hospital pharmacy introductory training, and more than 3000 hospital pharmacists accessed its ICU upskilling package.

Meanwhile there were hundreds of posts on the SHPA’s Covid-19 online forum and thousands of viewers for its Covid-19 webinar series.

SHPA President Peter Fowler also highlighted the impact of the organisation’s COVID-19 Hospital Pharmacy Capacity Snapshot Series.

“Conducted in April and May, the snapshot survey series revealed that safeguarding Australia’s supply of essential medicines to hospitals was critical to managing a surge in Covid-19 in patient cases, prompting national and international media coverage and informing the Covid-19 response of the TGA’s Medicine Shortage Working Group,” said Mr Fowler.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels said that amid the uncertainty, the SHPA’s 5000-plus membership renewed in strong numbers with an overall membership retention rate of nearly 94% – a record for the organisation.

Members also embraced a new, flexible 2020 CPD Calendar, with an increase in attendance over the financial year.

“With a hugely successful Medicines Management 2019 last November and strong launch of the Australian Injectable Drugs Handbook (8th Edition) in February, we were pleased to report an operating surplus to members last week, a sign of SHPA’s enduring strength,” said Ms Michaels.

Whether isolated within our hospitals and homes, or within our states or territory borders, 2020 forced all healthcare professionals to reconsider how to ensure safe patient care while also looking out for one another amid stress and strain.

“By flocking to virtual events, volunteering time to support peers and the profession and sending interstate messages of support during lockdowns, the passion and spirit of Australia’s hospital pharmacists and technicians has been on full display, and we look with optimism to the future.”

Following the AGM, SHPA’s current office bearers were re-elected, with Mr Fowler as President, Dr Jacinta Johnson as Vice President and David Brennan as Treasurer.

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